To create its first blue-water navy, China plans to construct a total of 10 domestic aircraft carriers according to the Kanwa Defense Review, a Chinese-language military magazine operated by Andrei Chang also known as Pinkov, a military analyst from Canada.
After Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the US chief of naval operations, visited China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, a refitted Soviet-era carrier purchased from Ukraine, the blueprint of the nation's first domestic carrier is nearly complete, according to Kanwa. Greenert said China is speeding up the construction of its second aircraft carrier and even predicted the vessel will enter service in the near future.
Richard Fisher, a military expert from US thinktank the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said China may have between four and five aircraft carriers in active service by 2030. This number may eventually increase to 10 in the next few decades. Greenert said, however, that the gap between US and Chinese aircraft carriers is still large. While a US carrier is capable of launching and retrieving 100 aircraft simultaneously, a Chinese aircraft carrier can only operate 10.
Before the PLA Navy is able to put its aircraft carriers into action, a great deal of work has to be done, Greenert said, adding however that China has achieved much in a very short period of time. Kanwa reported that China has acquired blueprints for a Soviet-era nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, also from Ukraine.
Quoting from the Singapore-based Straits Times, the article said that China's first domestically built aircraft carrier will be able to carry 50 J-15B carrier-based fighters and other aircraft such as the K-8 or the Z-8 early warning helicopters. In the future, between 25 and 27 stealth fighters such as the J-20 or the J-31 may serve aboard the Chinese aircraft carriers to replace the J-15, the PLA's current carrier-based fighter.
The article said China has great ambitions to build a navy which is stronger than the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.