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Satellite Spots China's First Aircraft Carrier

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the making-more-real-estate dept.

China 449

Hugh Pickens writes "Commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe Inc. has announced that it has an image of the People's Republic of China's first functional aircraft carrier, taken during the carrier's first sea trials in the Yellow Sea. The carrier was originally meant for the Soviet navy, but its construction was halted as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and engineers in the Ukraine disarmed it and removed its engines before selling it to China in 1998 for $20 million. The vessel, an Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier measuring 304.5 meters long, and having a displacement of 58,500 tons, has been refitted for research and training in China. The Ministry of National Defense says the steam-powered aircraft carrier has completed all refitting and testing work as scheduled after its first sea trial in mid-August, and was heading back out to sea for additional scientific research and experiments. According to Andrew S. Erickson at the US Naval War College, China's long term strategic dilemma is whether to focus on large-deck aviation or on submarines (PDF)."

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Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (4, Interesting)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38386752)

I would feel much safer to take off from a carrier that has ski-jump at end of the ramp. Without it you're basically taking off from under the deck, almost hitting water if you don't have enough speed. Ski-jump gives you much more vertical speed on take off.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (5, Informative)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38386788)

The US uses steam catapults, which are even better but are more expensive and are fairly involved to design.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (4, Informative)

roothog (635998) | more than 2 years ago | (#38386926)

The US uses steam catapults, which are even better but are more expensive and are fairly involved to design.

Ford class carriers (2 currently under construction) will use magnetic launch rather than steam launch.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387032)

The US uses steam catapults, which are even better but are more expensive and are fairly involved to design.

Ford class carriers (2 currently under construction) will use magnetic launch rather than steam launch.

To be followed in 20 years by the Obama class which use Hope

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387388)

Interesting idea. Would that make all airplanes VTOL?

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (1)

Sez Zero (586611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387114)

The US uses steam catapults, which are even better but are more expensive and are fairly involved to design.

Ford class carriers (2 currently under construction) will use magnetic launch rather than steam launch.

Awesome! We'll soon have the most steam-punk carrier catapults in the world!

I mean, steam is pretty good, but magnetic is just bad-ass!

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (4, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387224)

The ford is designed with more powerful nuclear reactors to provide for the magnetic launchers, and potentially rail guns and directed energy weapons. Yes. This will be bad-ass.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (4, Interesting)

dj245 (732906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387396)

I don't understand why they did this at all. A steam catapult is relatively simple mechanically, and any pipefitting company can work on it as long as they have the appropriate government qualifications. Our carriers are going to have nuclear reactors for a long time, and that means a readilly-available source of steam. Going to magnetic launchers just hints to me that the principal contractor wanted to drive up the costs in order to increase their profit, and the ability for them to charge out the ass for aftermarket service and parts.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387420)

Going to magnetic launchers just hints to me, a totally uninformed boob, that the principal contractor wanted to drive up the costs in order to increase their profit.

Fixed that for you, dummy.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (1)

clarkc3 (574410) | more than 2 years ago | (#38386984)

the new Gerald R Ford class will have electromagnetic catapults

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387274)

I was under the impression that ramp using carriers also used launch boosters.
there's nothing that says you couldn't combine the both, in fact if you use a ramp you'd like a lot of speed to begin with anyways.

but maybe it has something to do with that if you use that lane for landing too, then if you abort the landing.....

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (5, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38386828)

Better to have your nose straight at Vstall, than have your angle of attack inclined at Vstall. Ski-jumps don't work for heavier ASW/AWACS aircraft, and they deprie you of landing space for helicopters.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387378)

lol - I thought Vstall was some Russian guy!

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38386888)

Ramps limit the types and weight of aircraft and external loads. Anything a ramp can do a flat-top can do. The reverse is not true. The US navy has never accepted that compromise.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38386944)

Care to back up this "Ski-jump gives you much more vertical speed on take off" thing? If not, leave engineering to the engineers.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387138)

http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1990s/1990/mj90.pdf
read page 12.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (4, Interesting)

roothog (635998) | more than 2 years ago | (#38386976)

almost hitting water if you don't have enough speed. Ski-jump gives you much more vertical speed on take off.

With flat launch, you do hit the water in high seas [youtube.com] if they don't time the catapult launch correctly.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (3, Informative)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387082)

Large, heavy aircraft cannot take off from ski jumps. That makes them mostly unsuitable for US carriers as the Super Hornet is one of the mainstays of the airborne fleet.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387292)

Russia operates Mig-29s and Su-33s off of carriers with ski jumps - and the Su-33 is heavier than a Superhornet.

The USMC also doesn't use a ski jump for it's AV-8B carrier platforms, despite that aircraft operating very well off of the UKs (now retired), Indian and Italian ski jump equipped carriers. It's an operational decision taken by US military planners rather than a limitation with the design, as the RAF GR.7 and GR.9s could launch with a heavier weight than the Marines aircraft because of that ski jump.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (3, Insightful)

myth24601 (893486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387424)

I think the main reason the Navy doesn't put ski jumps on the gator carriers that the USMC takes off from is because they don't want to sacrifice the space that could be used for helicopter operations. Those carriers are mainly used for landing troops with the Harrier playing a supporting role.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387196)

I'm pretty sure the jets that the US launches off its carriers wouldn't be able to launch off of ski-jump carriers, as they wouldn't have enough velocity without the launchers. And making launchers in an arc shape is probably problematic. Notice that the only aircraft they use with the ski-jump carriers is the Harrier jump-jet, which is a rather small and slow aircraft (no supersonic capability) whose main asset is VTOL. They only use the ski-jumps because doing a full vertical take-off burns a lot of fuel, limiting the duration of your mission.

Re:Why don't U.S. carriers also use ski-jump? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387314)

As noted in my other post, Russia operates aircraft larger than a Superhornet off of carriers equipped with ski jumps.

Not first, just first functional (3, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387278)

So they've finally figured out they have to Build them in the OCEAN?!?!?!? [theregister.co.uk]

First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

denobug (753200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38386754)

okay old story. But I got the first post!

Re:First Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38386776)

This post is full of failure.

Ukraine (1, Troll)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 2 years ago | (#38386770)

It's "Ukraine", not "The Ukraine" Get it right.

Re:Ukraine (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38386988)

Re:Ukraine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387084)

It's not my crane... don't even blame that on me!

Re:Ukraine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387108)

It's "Ukraine", not "The Ukraine" Get it right.

Not according to my The Ukrainian friend. She also has large bosoms.

Re:Ukraine (5, Interesting)

idji (984038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387110)

Go and google "The Ukraine" and look up Oxford English Dictionary and you will find such interesting linguistic jewels. "The Ukraine", "The Crimea", "The Sudan", "The Netherlands", "The Congo", "The Ivory Coast". Now get off my lawn....

Solution to US debt problem (4, Funny)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38386800)

China's aircraft carrier sounds like pretty old tech. Our aircraft carriers are the most advanced in the world, with nuclear power and now electromagnetic launchers. At something like $5 billion apiece, they aren't cheap. Maybe we can get back some of those dollars we've sent to China by selling them a fleet of our new Reagan-class aircraft carriers.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (-1)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38386836)

China doesn't really need carriers. They aren't offensive country like the U.S., they mostly need defensive forces. And carriers don't do much in that.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387002)

Not really; China's been making a lot of noise about taking Taiwan back, and they're slowly but surely developing a blue-water navy. They're trying to turn themselves into a superpower, and they're succeeding by the looks of it. A fleet of aircraft carriers would help them greatly in their ambition to be a superpower.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387050)

China doesn't really need carriers. They aren't offensive country like the U.S.

Tell that to Tibet.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (5, Funny)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387250)

You mean land locked Tibet?

Re:Solution to US debt problem (2)

Sez Zero (586611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387164)

China doesn't really need carriers. They aren't offensive country like the U.S., they mostly need defensive forces. And carriers don't do much in that.

China doesn't need big, expensive carriers because they'd be fighting big, expensive carriers of the US. They want submarines [usnwc.edu] for that.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (2)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387380)

China doesn't need big, expensive carriers

Expensive? No, no; it's practically free to them. The Chinese government holds enough US government debt that this carrier is paid for by US taxpayers.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (5, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387260)

What are you talking about? Carriers have an offense of 1, a defense of 9, and 4 hit points (1/9/4)! About the only thing that has any hope of destroying one is a submarine (10/2/3) or stealth bomber (14/5/2).

Re:Solution to US debt problem (4, Interesting)

kcbnac (854015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38386900)

This was sold as a research vessel only, not to be converted back for active military use. Who knows if China is going to follow that, but being an old design and stripped of many useful things, they'd be better off building a fresh one with new design, tech and materials, and keep using this as a "research" ship.

Also sell the one superpower that could actually give us a run for our money the equipment we use? That would be VERY stupid, also they wouldn't take it - they'd want to make sure none of it was sabotaged. (As we've done several times with commercial gear when the Soviets would buy it through 3rd parties)

Re:Solution to US debt problem (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387058)

Also sell the one superpower that could actually give us a run for our money the equipment we use? That would be VERY stupid

We've already sold them everything else they need to become a superpower and wreck our economy (i.e., we don't make anything here any more except for some military hardware, and even that depends on Chinese-made components), so I don't see how selling them a fleet of carriers is going to make anything any worse than it already is.

also they wouldn't take it - they'd want to make sure none of it was sabotaged.

They can keep part of the payment until everything is verified working. It can't be that hard to verify some nuclear reactors and launchers work as advertised and aren't sabotaged, at least not without finding out the hard way pretty quickly. They'll probably want to handle most of the electronic gear themselves though; they're better at that than we are anyway, as we can't do electronics in this country any more, since most of the critical components are made elsewhere.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (4, Funny)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387078)

That's actually what US Navy Submarines do, also--"oceanic research."

Re:Solution to US debt problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387146)

we should sail a nuclear sub over there and sink this bitch, for "research" purposes

Re:Solution to US debt problem (4, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387254)

AC is a fool.

There is at least one fast attack shadowing this ship already.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387370)

That would be VERY stupid, also they wouldn't take it - they'd want to make sure none of it was sabotaged. (As we've done several times with commercial gear when the Soviets would buy it through 3rd parties)

3rd party being the important distinction between the US selling the Soviets sabotaged parts from a US vendor vs the US selling sabotaged equipment directly.

The US sells a ludicrous amount of military gear to other countries, if other countries had to worry about the equipment being sabotaged then there would be no sales.

"We" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38386930)

Maybe we can get back some of those dollars

Almost fell out of my chair laughing.

No matter what happens, boss, I can assure you that "we" won't be seeing a dime. Yes, "we" were forced to pay for it, but it sure as hell isn't "ours".

Re:"We" (0, Troll)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387072)

Sadly, you're right. A few corrupt 1%ers will keep all the loot and let the rest of the nation go down in flames.

Re:"We" (0)

Bardwick (696376) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387178)

oowwww, does someone have more than you? You poor thing.

Re:"We" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387410)

Yeah, that's what it's about, you moron. It couldn't possibly be that the rich are driving the country to ruin while keeping themselves rich.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (4, Informative)

roothog (635998) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387022)

Reagan-class aircraft carriers.

Such a thing does not exist. The new class of carrier is Ford class. The USS Ronald Reagan is Nimitz class.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387128)

Oops, sorry. Good catch.

Now things brings up the question, why on earth did they name the newest, most advanced aircraft carriers on the planet after a President who was never elected by anyone (he was appointed, first as VP and then inherited the Pres position when Nixon quit), and who was a complete failure? Maybe it's supposed to be an acknowledgement that our powerful government isn't a democracy at all, but really a plutocracy where a small cabal controls who gets appointed into powerful positions through rigged elections, much like in Saddam's Iraq.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (2)

roothog (635998) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387190)

why on earth did they name the newest, most advanced aircraft carriers on the planet after a President who was never elected by anyone (he was appointed, first as VP and then inherited the Pres position when Nixon quit), and who was a complete failure? Maybe it's supposed to be an acknowledgement that our powerful government isn't a democracy at all, but really a plutocracy where a small cabal controls who gets appointed into powerful positions through rigged elections, much like in Saddam's Iraq.

Gerald Ford served on aircraft carriers during WW2. The Navy names its big ships after prominent Naval vets.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (1)

Zcar (756484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387320)

Like Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Harry Truman, and Theodore Roosevelt? Nope. The carriers are currently named primarily after presidents (John Stennis, Carl Vinson, and Chester Nimitz are the exceptions from the Nimitz class).

Re:Solution to US debt problem (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387236)

Now things brings up the question, why on earth did they name the newest, most advanced aircraft carriers on the planet after a President who was never elected by anyone

Probably because he was in the Navy [navy.mil] .

Re:Solution to US debt problem (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387430)

No, because as the other poster said, Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Harry Truman, and Theodore Roosevelt weren't in the navy, but they all have carriers named after them. We can give a pass to Washington since there was no separate navy branch back then, but not the others. Lincoln wasn't really even in the military service, he was just in the Illinois militia for a year fighting some Indians.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387074)

China's aircraft carrier sounds like pretty old tech. Our aircraft carriers are the most advanced in the world, with nuclear power and now electromagnetic launchers. At something like $5 billion apiece, they aren't cheap. Maybe we can get back some of those dollars we've sent to China by selling them a fleet of our new Reagan-class aircraft carriers.

They'll probably use it for harrassing Japan, Taiwan and South Korea over disputed islands, fishing areas and oil exploration.

China has fish to fry close to home, before they think about projecting power.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387256)

With a fleet of carriers, they can do both at the same time. They have plenty of manpower to build a big military, they just don't have the experience and knowledge to build cutting-edge military hardware yet. We can sell that to them.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387086)

They're cutting edge but also at risk of budget cuts. Economies in big systemic crisis always cut the size of their armies. On the other side, emerging powers always expanded their ones.

Look at the intertwined histories of the UK and the USA as they exchanged the roles of the major economic and military power of the world in the past two centuries. Will be China the next one?

Re:Solution to US debt problem (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387334)

I think the answer to that is an unequivocal "yes". You can't maintain a status as the major military power of the world without an economy to support it; when the economy crumbles, the military power part eventually crumbles too. We've seen this with the Roman and British empires, among others. The US isn't going to be a major military power for much longer, the way it's managing its economy.

Maye they want to (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387094)

float in on a nice boat to collect on the debt?

Re:Solution to US debt problem (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387096)

It is not a real aircraft carrier, it's an oversized aircraft-carrying cruiser. Smaller than the large aircraft carriers of US or other of other countries, but it's still a nice ship I think. The Chinese got the entire hull at 20 million USD, which is probably a good deal on this.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387290)

It's only about 100 feet shorter than US carriers, though it's probably a lot narrower as the displacement is roughly half as much.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (4, Informative)

Zcar (756484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387428)

Not exactly. The Soviet Union classified them as aviation cruiser for treaty reasons (Montreux Convention, 1936: aircraft carriers aren't allowed through the Dardanelles). At about 65,000 tons full load, it's larger than the French de Gaulle and roughly equivalent the the Royal Navy's planned carriers.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387112)

Being that a single aircraft carrier is more powerful then most countries militarilies. It is a huge status symbol in your region that you have one, and countries will think twice before going directly with a country with an aircraft carrier.
The world know that China isn't as offensive like the U.S. is however China is big and a lot of people and they need to show the world that.

Re:Solution to US debt problem (2)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387302)

The world know that China isn't as offensive like the U.S. is

lol. That's hilarious. I know some veterans of the Korean war who might object to that evaluation. Pretty sure Taiwan might have a thing or two to say, also.

Here come all the Arm Chair Generals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38386834)

They can now point to all the flaws of this carrier even though these arm chair generals still live in their parents' basement.

Re:Here come all the Arm Chair Generals (2)

fredrated (639554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387188)

Don't you mean arm chair Admirals? Or would that be Bathtub Admirals?

Backed by (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38386838)

Re:Backed by (3, Insightful)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387360)

If the daily mail ran a headline claiming that two times three equalled six, I'd double check on my fingers before believing them.

Target Practice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38386922)

Finally, a bit of target practice

They aren't offensive country like the U.S (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38386938)

"China doesn't really need carriers. They aren't offensive country like the U.S.,"

From above.

Very true.

The bigger question is Why does US need so many offensive nukes, stealth bombers, Trident D5s, Aircraft Carriers.

Oh yeah. Cheap foreign produced goods for the empire.

Can I get a:

"USA! USA! USA!"

Re:They aren't offensive country like the U.S (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387446)

Lets see. They are developing multiple carriers. This was launched and at least 2 keels are laid for new carriers. There are reports that the 3rd carrier is nuke and not diesel.

Then you have multiple reports of China likely having multiple hidden nuke warheads. [dailymail.co.uk]

They took out a sat with a new anti-sat. Their Space program is 100% military.

And idiots like you think that they are DEFENSIVE?
Either you are a western idiot, or just another Chinese spy.

Why do we still build weapons? (3, Interesting)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38386950)

"According to Andrew S. Erickson at the US Naval War College, China's long term strategic dilemma is whether to focus on large-deck aviation or on submarines "

Does it really matter? Are we expecting WW3 anytime soon?

Re:Why do we still build weapons? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387040)

The Chinese have been preparing for the Rapture.

Haven't you heard? (0)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387064)

The US has been waging a world war for a while now. How many countries do you have to be invading/occupying before its called a world war?

Re:Haven't you heard? (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387202)

Yeah but going for a submarine means you're attacking a country with a competent navy. Has the US ever been in any of those recently?

Re:Haven't you heard? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387348)

One that puts up a real fight would be a start.

The current war is being fought on different terms. China pegs their currency to the dollar. We print dollars. etc etc

More like the USA vs the Soviets then anything else in recent history.

Re:Why do we still build weapons? (4, Insightful)

Sez Zero (586611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387176)

Does it really matter? Are we expecting WW3 anytime soon?

You can't rattle your saber if you don't have a saber!

And nuclear powered mobile military bases are great for rattling

Re:Why do we still build weapons? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387336)

And nuclear powered mobile military bases are great for rattling

Only if the other guy can't shoot back.

So they've discovered flight and have oil! (5, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38386952)

Time to drop the trade agreement for furs and hope they dont halve aluminum or uranium within their borders.

Steam powered? (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387028)

Just curious, what would they burn in an application like this to power its boilers? Oil? Diesel? Coal? (Lead-lined cadmium? Child laborers?)

Re:Steam powered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387166)

Fuel Oil.... In large bulk burners like this, you don't need a fancy refined fuel like Diesel, but you do not want direct crude...

Re:Steam powered? (3, Informative)

dj245 (732906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387218)

If they didn't stuff a nuclear reactor in it, they are probably burning Heavy Fuel Oil [wikipedia.org] , sometimes referred to as Bunker C. It is a heavy oil which needs to be heated before you can even pump it. HFO is the nasty stuff left over after you refine the gasoline, diesel, and other useful oils out of crude. It burns dirty, but at sea nobody cares. In port, some countries/ports make you switch to marine diesel to improve the air quality. I didn't check, but I doubt China is concerned with burning HFO in their ports.

Brilliant! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387036)

This was a brilliant move on China's part. A cold war is about making the other country spend too much money so that it collapses...at least that's basically what happened in the last cold war right? China spends 20 million on a ship...let's pretend they double that cost refitting it so maybe $40 million, and this will be used as an excuse for congresscritters to approve billions more in spending that we don't have on "defense."

Re:Brilliant! (4, Insightful)

Manfre (631065) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387160)

We'll just continue to spend China's money. They can't win the cold war if they're paying for both sides of it!

Re:Brilliant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38387288)

Economic warfare is very similar to extreme high-stakes poker, Old West style. Your real goal is to get your opponent to put his gun on the table as a wager, without ticking him off enough first that he only spends one bullet. As long as the governance of the US stays in the oligarchies, China is doing quite well. It's just the citizens who are getting ticked off about it.

I for one welcome (2, Funny)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387038)

our floating Chinese overlords.

This is actually the 2'nd trial (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387126)

It went out in sept, issues found and sent back for repair. Likewise, this went out for sea trials mid. nov. It is possible that this is a fully launched and commissioned aircraft carrier.

Re:This is actually the 2'nd trial (1)

roothog (635998) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387240)

It is possible that this is a fully launched and commissioned aircraft carrier.

It doesn't seem to be carrying an air wing.

Re:This is actually the 2'nd trial (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387310)

It doesn't seem to be carrying an air wing.

That seems to be the fashion these days: the new British carriers aren't going to have any planes either.

Another odd decision from China's government (3, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387132)

They've got thousands of young unemployed engineers, recent advances in the design of hulls and they invest in um, the height of Ukranian technology (OK, maybe borrowed Russian technology). Surely they could have done much better starting from scratch.

Three gorges dam is another strange project. Yes, you can build ONE BIG DAM or 1 hundred little ones that are cheaper, achieve better flood control, yield as much or more power and are easier to dredge when they silt up. And if one of a hundred dams break, it's not as big a deal. If the three gorges dam breaks, we have a real problem.

Aircraft carriers (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387170)

If you're fighting a real enemy who can shoot back, a carrier fleet is just a target-rich environment for cheap missiles. This is the modern equivalent of building battleships before WWII only to see them sunk by cheap aircraft.

Re:Aircraft carriers (1)

roothog (635998) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387350)

Carriers provide force projection, e.g. intimidation of smaller militaries by sending a capital ship and battle group in their direction.

Re:Aircraft carriers (3, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387392)

Carriers provide force projection, e.g. intimidation of smaller militaries by sending a capital ship and battle group in their direction.

As I said, they're only of use if the other side can't shoot back. Otherwise they'll be scrap on the sea-bed within a few days.

Even the British carriers in the Falklands only survived because the Argentian Air Force ran out of Exocets.

Re:Aircraft carriers (1)

TheDugong (701481) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387398)

So did battleships.

Re:Aircraft carriers (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387386)

30 years ago my country sent an aircraft carrier out to fight an enemy with what were state-of-the-art anti ship missiles, and it worked out OK. Was a close call at some points, but our carrier didn't take a hit. Not sure if that would still apply, but it is the most modern deployment of an aircraft carrier against anybody at a higher tech level than Kalashnikovs and IEDs

Sticker on bottom of ship... (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387222)

The carrier was originally meant for the Soviet navy, but its construction was halted as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and engineers in the Ukraine disarmed it and removed its engines before selling it to China in 1998 for $20 million.

... says "Not made in China".

China is becoming a naval power, slowly (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387346)

China is slowly building a blue-water naval capability. This is hard and expensive, and has to be done in steps. Now they have a test aircraft carrier, which they can use to train pilots to take off and land on deck. They can practice the difficult process of servicing and maintaining aircraft on board ship. From this, they'll figure out what to build into their own carriers (two are under construction) and carrier-based aircraft, and how to train their people.

China's current generation of warships is considered reasonably good, although until they see combat, no one will really know. (The US fights a lot of small wars, and thus has experienced troops, battle-tested hardware, and the logistic capabilities to fight a war almost anywhere on the planet. China hasn't been as active in recent decades. Nor has most of Europe, as becomes embarrassingly obvious when NATO actually has to send troops somewhere.)

As China develops more overseas economic interests, especially in the raw materials area, they'll want a force projection capability. This is the first big step.

they only have one now.. (2, Insightful)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387408)

but considering they now are the source of a lot of stuff made in the world. if their leader went out and said. "i want 20 more in less then ten years" they will be able to build them in less then 5. and it takes us what about 2 to 3 years to build a single one of ours?

congratulations, the united states is like the early ww2 german war machine. were more advanced but it takes longer for us to build our tanks, ships, and planes while our enemies will be able in a short while replace that one much cheaper and faster made one with 2 or more every time we knock one down.

Let me get this straight... (1)

nilbog (732352) | more than 2 years ago | (#38387438)

Russia sold an air craft carrier for $20 million? If I would have known this would have been just what I've been waiting for, as I've wanted to live on an air craft carrier set in the middle of the lake near my house.

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