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New Dragon is a Toothless Lizard

Have you heard? China now has an aircraft carrier!
(cue menacing theme music here)

There are many reasons to distrust, or even fear the government of China. Their new carrier is not one of them.

Their single carrier, the Liaoning, is not what what you may think it is. It is not ready. China has NO experience with naval aviation. Carriers are the center of modern naval battle groups, and China needs to figure out how to deploy their new toy. Carriers are very complex, expensive to operate and take years to train a proficient crew.
This carrier was purchased, surplus, as a Cold War leftover. It still has a ski-jump on it's bow for a now discontinued jump jet called the Yak-38. The planes it can deploy are limited in number and capability.

It is nothing like a U.S. Supercarrier, other than in general appearance. The re-fitted Cold War "Varyag" is a fleet support vessel. It carries planes only to attempt to maintain air superiority. It cannot project power via long range bombers. It has bulky anti-ship missiles and a large compliment of anti-submarine helicopters. Truly a jack of all trades and master of none.

The Liaoning is simply a ridiculous, nonsensical addition to the Chinese Navy. Carriers, in general, have become more and more vulnerable as submarine and missile technology continues to improve. Their chief regional rivals (Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, The Philippines and Taiwan) can all be reached quickly and effectively by both ground based aircraft and missiles.
This purchase is as pathetic as some balding middle aged man buying a new red sports car.

It isn't like owning an aircraft carrier puts you into some kind of elite club. The following nations all have carriers:

Yes, Thailand. Does China need an arms race with Brazil? Or Spain? Seriously?

They should have stuck to the original plan of making the carrier a floating casino.


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