Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"John Wick didn't kill all those people because they broke his toaster." -MickAK

"Everything is easy if somebody else is the one doing it." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

While You Were Riveted On the Stock Market News...

China began sea trials of former Soviet Carrier that was originally purchased under the guise of converting it to a floating casino.

One carrier is a training platform. Three are a potential threat. Carriers are not defensive tools; they are offensive tools for taking the fight to an adversary. It takes a hell of a lot of resources to support a carrier, for not only does a carrier navy need the carrier and airplanes, it needs escorts to protect the carrier and a plethora of supply ships to keep the carrier fed with fuel and munitions. In local waters, a carrier and escorts may be trouble for several hundred miles from Chinese ports. But if the ships are to operate much further than that, a lot more support ships are necessary.

What is often forgotten in the hysteria over the Chinese carrier is how long it takes to build up the human and technical infrastructure to support carrier-based operations. Navalizing warplanes is not an easy thing; it's not just a matter of interservice rivalry behind the point that Air Force fighters don't seem to work out when adapted for carrier use. The Brits navalized the Spitfire into the Seafire, but it was an open secret that the Royal Navy accepted the Seafire for political reasons.*

China is playing a long game and its navy is expanding. But going from a brown-water to a blue-water navy takes a lot of time and training. While "panic" is not called for, the nations around the western Pacific Rim need to figure out how they are going to adapt to a more muscular and capable Chinese navy.**

North and South Korea conducted a friendly exchange of artillery fire. Meanwhile, the North Koreans have asked South Korea for a shipment of "humanitarian cement". The South Koreans don't seem to be that gullible.***

* The Royal Navy was more than content with using American-built Wildcats, Hellcats and Corsairs, all of which were designed for carrier use.
** Taiwan has one idea.
** (Is it just me who wonders if it is possible that the Tea Party has learned its negotiating tactics from the North Koreans?)


BadTux said...

"Humanitarian cement"... ROFL!

The Varyag is like most of the Soviet carriers of that era, a rather small ski-jump carrier intended more for anti-submarine use and defense of shipping use than offensive use. The fact that its design gives as much space to helicopters as to jets should be A Clue there. However, as you point out, even a small carrier gives valuable experience in carrier operations that will be invaluable if China decides to construct full-scale carriers.

And of course as you point out, there's only one reason for full-size carriers: force projection. A small carrier might be useful for escorting a convoy and keeping it safe from pirates and enemy submarines, or for carrying a large number of cargo helicopters for use in humanitarian operations, but a large carrier has only one purpose, which is to bring airpower to bear on a target beyond your borders.

montag said...

Maybe we can sell the Chinese the naval version of the F-35. That should double the time line to a functioning naval air arm.

BadTux said...

We can sell them magic sparkle ponies that shit rainbows while we're at it too, Montag. Both magic sparkle ponies and navalized F-35's are equally likely to be produced in this country within the next 10 years :).

-Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Gordon said...

I hear the Brits are selling them a buncha leftover Stringbags...