In this episode, Andrew Erickson joins us to discuss China’s recent efforts to modernize its navy and expand its naval fleet. He assesses China’s current naval capabilities relative to other countries and examines the future prospects of China’s naval modernization. He also touches on China’s commercial and military shipbuilding activities in addition to the evolution of China’s aircraft carrier program and its future trajectory.
China is making steady progress in constructing what is believed to be its third aircraft carrier. Commercial satellite imagery collected on August 18, 2020, shows significant developments in the construction of the vessel and additional improvements to the infrastructure at Jiangnan Shipyard.
The entry of China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, attracts considerable attention from both the press and military observers around the world. It represents China’s global power for some, and a significant step towards a more assertive Chinese navy for others.
Seven years after the Liaoning entered service into the Chinese navy, China commissioned its second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, on December 17, 2019. This ship features notable enhancements over the Liaoning and represents an important step in China’s developing aircraft carrier program.