Wednesday, 24 April 2013

China builds second aircraft carrier

Navy has a single carrier, the Russian-built Liaoning, and says another larger vessel is under construction

China will build a second, larger aircraft carrier capable of carrying more fighter jets, the official Xinhua news service has reported, quoting a senior officer with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

The report comes after Chinese officials denied foreign media reports in September 2012 that China was building a second carrier in Shanghai. 

"China will have more than one aircraft carrier ... The next aircraft carrier we need will be larger and carry more fighters," Xinhua quoted Song Xue, deputy chief of staff of the PLA Navy, as saying at a ceremony with foreign military attaches. 

Song said foreign media reports saying the carrier was being built in Shanghai were inaccurate but did not elaborate, according to the report. 

China currently has one aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which it bought from the Russians and refitted. Considered by military experts to be decades behind US carrier technology, it was officially said to have been bought to serve as a floating casino but was turned to military use.

China is also building up other forms of military hardware, including a stealth fighter jet believed to be capable of landing on a carrier, drone aircraft and nuclear submarines. 

China is alone among the original nuclear weapons states to be expanding its nuclear forces, according to a report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. 

Song said the PLA Navy was building a naval aviation force for the Liaoning and there would be at least two aviation regiments on one carrier, including fighters, reconnaissance aircraft, anti-submarine aircraft, electronic countermeasure (ECM) planes and rotary-wing aircraft, the report said.

Chinese officials have said the Liaoning will be used primarily for training purposes.

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