China is constructing a 110,000-tonne nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with the capability to challenge the USS Gerald R Ford — the largest carrier in the United States Navy — either on Shanghai's Changxing island or in Dalian in northeast China's Liaoning province, according to the Moscow-based Russia Today.
According to a Dec. 23 report by New Delhi-based Business Standard, China's new domestic aircraft carrier is based on the blueprint of a 80,000-tonne carrier constructed in the former Soviet Union during the Cold War, which was designed to carry 60 aircraft.
Concerning the rumors, Li Jie, a senior colonel in the PLA Navy, told the state-run Global Times that China is capable of constructing such an aircraft carrier but added that it is doubtful that the country will look to do so at present as the PLA Navy does not presently need such a big ship.
He said that operating a 110,000-tonne nuclear-powered carrier in open waters would be more complicated than constructing one and that the PLA Navy will need time to prepare and study the possibilities before starting construction.
"We have to know how many aircraft we want to operate with the carrier," said Li. "It is also crucial to know how the aircraft will take off from and land on the carrier and what kind of power we need to operate the ship before building it." Li added that it is also important to consider what kind of challenges the ship will face once operating in the open sea.
Before China starts to think about building its next-generation aircraft carrier, the Global Times said that it is important for the PLA Navy to fully understand the Liaoning, the nation's first aircraft carrier, a refitted conventional Soviet-era carrier purchased from the Ukraine. Operating an aircraft carrier is even a difficult task for the United States Navy which has had almost 100 years of experience with the vessel, the paper said, adding that it will not be easy for China as a beginner.http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?cid=1101&MainCatID=11&id=20131225000138