Friday, March 12, 2010

China gets the Varyag for peanuts while the Gorshkov remains a money pit

VPK quotes a Chinese blog that the ex-Soviet almost carrier Varyag is going to be commissioned into the People's Liberation Army Navy as a training carrier, giving the People's Liberation Army a People's Liberation Army Naval Airforce with fixed wing capability: 


According to the Chinese source, the leadership of the Chinese Navy confirmed press reports of accepting the Ukrainian aircraft carrier "Varyag" into the fleet as a training carrier.

The carrier is the ideal training platform for carrier pilots since it can go to sea and pitch and roll. Rolling can't be simulated on land training bases. The carrier will also be a test platform for self-defense systems. Besides that, the experience with the Varyag  will give the Chinese the opportunity to choose a power plant for an indigenously built carrier. According to unconfirmed sources, testing of a carrier based version of the J-10 has already begun. A series of escort ships like the "Chinese Aegis" Type 054 destroyers and other vessels are already building.

It's highly unlikely that the Varyag will be a fully capable combat aircraft carrier since the carrier was built in 1988 and has been in the water almost 20 years. Carriers in the US Navy have a 50 year service life, so the Varyag wont be in the Chinese order of battle for very long.
China originally bought the Varyag for $20 million without an engine or a rudder. A Chinese entrepeneuer wanted to turn it into a floating casino in the fascinating, but shady, enclave of Macau.

Perhaps the Indians should have waited a bit and bought the Gorshkov for scrap, instead of approving $2.35 Billion to renovate a 25 year old hull. I wonder how many dachas, Hummers and condos in Dubai were bought with the skim off all the money the Indians have poured into that pit?


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