China had commissioned a used aircraft carrier after it was refurbished into its navy. That was four years back and it was christened the Liaoning. Despite 4 years having elapsed the aircraft carrier still remains a training ship and not of any significant use in an armed conflict. China for centuries wished to be a naval power, but history decreed otherwise. Right from the time of the Mongol invasion of Japan in the 12th century and its subsequent destruction by a divine wind the Chinese have never been able to achieve any significant status as a global naval force.

The Liaoning

The Chinese bought an old hull of a Russian aircraft carrier which had become part of assets of Ukraine.

This was after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The aircraft carrier was refurbished and towed to China. It was modernized and made capable of operating 36 jet fighters. During the last four years, the Chinese have not added any more carriers to their fleet and the Liaoning remains the sole warship in this class.

Despite much talk and bravado, a lone aircraft carrier is not much of a force against the US fleet which the Chinese wish to match. Firstly, the aircraft carrier is slow and goes just at about half the speed of the US carriers and secondly the Chinese have not achieved perfection in operations of aircraft from the deck of a carrier. In actual combat, it could be a dud. The US has been operating carriers for almost 90 years and China's archenemy India has been operating carriers for over 50 years.

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The Chinese have not the expertise as yet to operate aircraft and fighters from the Liaoning.


Thus, the sad reality is that the Chinese navy has still miles to go to perfect carrier operations and obviously the Liaoning is not combat ready. The Chinese are shrewd and are just using the Liaoning as a training ship. This training will come in handy when the Chinese launch their own indigenous aircraft carriers, which are on the drawing board.

The Chinese ambition of a great navy that has existed for close to 2000 years is still some time away.