China making steady progress towards longer range power projection

China is expected to “own” a third aircraft carrier in the near future, the People’s Daily online, the flagship of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is reporting, quoting a leading naval expert.

The website quoted Liang Fang:

At present, China’s second aircraft carrier is under construction. In the near future, the Chinese navy is expected to own a third aircraft carrier battle group, capable of safeguarding territorial sovereignty and maritime rights, said Liang.

Other sources had indicated that the third carrier was already under construction.

It is likely that the third carrier will have more capable catapult launchers instead of a ramp. This will enable the fighter planes to have longer range.

If China gets to catapult launchers and nuclear powered carriers in the 65,000 ton class they will be at about the level of the French or British carriers. The US has 100,000 ton class nuclear, catapult launch carriers.

It will likely take until the 2040s for China to start matching the US in terms of the ten or eleven 100,000 ton nuclear carriers with catapult launchers. The U.S. Navy operates 19 ships that could be called aircraft carriers, but only considers 10 to be actual carriers.

Currently, China’s carrier ability is still catching up to India’s.

If there was a future big war between the US and China, they both would likely quickly sink aircraft carriers.

The utility of aircraft carriers is for pushing around smaller militaries around the world without having to depend upon basing of fighters at another country.

Currently China is able to project power within the South China Sea and local waters.