Some of you may vaguely recall this post from 2007, in which I mention that the hull of the former Soviet Kusnetsov-class aircraft carrier Varyag had been purchased by a Chinese company “to turn into a floating casino.”
Oh, and the PLAN named their new Tool of Imperialism “Shi-Lang” which is the name of the Chinese admiral who conquered Taiwan in the 17th century. That’s totally not ominous at all, right?
China is spending a lot of money and effort building a credible blue-water navy. They’re still a long way from being able to stand toe to toe with a modern Western-equipped Navy, but it’s more than a little telling that the Chinese Navy has put so many eggs into the bird farm basket. Aircraft carriers are not for territorial or coastal defense, they’re strictly for offensive operations beyond the reach of one’s own air power. They’re tools of power projection.
(With the Chinese lack of respect for copyright laws and their astonishing abilities in the field of economic mimicry, I sort of expected the first Chinese carrier to be a bitwise copy of the U.S.S. Nimitz, right down to the hull number, but with slightly misspelled detail markings–BEWARE OF JET BLATS on the side of the carrier island, and so on.)