Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) By sending its first aircraft carrier to the South China Sea, Beijing aims at more effective control over disputed islands in the region, but the vessel has five major weaknesses that make it unable to match up against U.S. carriers, according to a Friday report in a Chinese state-run newspaper.
The China Youth Daily said that training in the South China Sea, where the Liaoning aircraft carrier headed for the first time Nov. 26, will allow it and other vessels to get more familiar with the maritime environment that is expected to become their main area of operation.
But it will be some time before the Liaoning is combat-ready due to five major weaknesses, the official newspaper of the Communist Youth League of China said, listing them in order.
First, the Liaoning relies on Russian technology that limits the ship's range and usefulness in open sea.
Secondly, the carrier cannot match the capabilities of U.S. aircraft carriers, which can launch unmanned fighters with a range of up to 200 nautical miles.
The electronics and weapons systems of the Liaoning and its J-15 fighter jets are far inferior to American carriers and their F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, and the U.S. carriers also boast E-2 Hawkeye early warning aircraft with a flying altitude and range that outclasses the Liaoning's Kamov KA-31 helicopter.
Lastly, the paper said that China does not yet have a large-size battle group centered around the Liaoning, and the ability of its warships to take part in coordinated fighting is not yet mature. http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aipl/201312060017.aspx