China To Start Construction Of 1st Aircraft Carriers Next Year
From the Asashi Shibun, by Kenji Minemura:
China will begin construction of the country’s first domestically produced aircraft carriers in Shanghai next year, with an eye to completing two mid-sized carriers by 2015, military and shipbuilding sources said.
Beijing is also expected to complete work on a never-finished former Soviet aircraft carrier moored in the northeastern port of Dalian, to provide training for carrier-based pilots and crew.
The two 50,000- to 60,000-ton carriers will rely on conventional propulsion systems, not nuclear power. They will be assigned to the People’s Liberation Army Navy south sea fleet, tasked with patrolling the South China Sea, sources said.
China’s carrier ambitions and the build-up of its blue-water fleet have long been of interest to Pacific nations.
National defense ministry spokesman Huang Xueping recently commented that China might build its own aircraft carriers.