China’s second aircraft carrier entered service on Tuesday, adding immense firepower to its naval ambitions to dominate the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean while pressurizing Taiwan into submission.
The commissioning of the warship, named the Shandong, puts China in a small group of nations with multiple aircraft carriers. China’s first domestically built carrier was delivered to the People’s Liberation Army navy in Sanya, on the southern island of Hainan, at a ceremony attended by President Xi Jinping, state media said.
The 700-meter (2,400 feet) long carrier dock in Sanya is able to service multiple carriers concurrently and is the largest port of its kind in Asia.
Beijing has been aggressively pursuing its military ambitions to develop a modern, high-tech army which can counter the American assertiveness in the region. China’s defence spending is second only to the United States but outnumbers all others that follow on the list, including regional-foe, India.
As EurAsian Times reported earlier, after news emerged that China’s second aircraft carrier that was docked at Yulin Naval base is all set to join the Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy soon, the Indian Navy urged the Cochin Shipyard to quickly deliver country’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier – INS Vikrant which weighs 40,000 tons.
With its length of 260 meters, INS Vikrant would have two take-off runways and a landing strip with three arrester wires, capable of operating a STOBAR (short take-off but arrested delivery) aircraft and a range of helicopters. Twenty MiG 29K fighter jets and 10 helicopters will be deployed on the aircraft carrier.
With this, India will join the elite group of nations that can indigenously built an aircraft carrier. At present, only the US, Russia, UK, France and now China have the capacity to design and build aircraft carriers of 40,000 tonnes and heavier.