Jun 1, 2014
China PLA Could Commission Four Carrier Battle Groups
Photos on the internet revealed new facilities and vehicles on the Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier which is now undergoing maintenance at Dalian Shipyard. PLA Navy has gained more experience in operating an aircraft carrier in the 18 months since the Liaoning was commissioned.
China already has plans to build two domestic aircraft carriers after the Liaoning. Over the next 15 years, the PLA Navy may be able to maintain four carrier battle groups. For the US Navy, meanwhile, there is currently debate over whether it is necessary to keep 11 aircraft carriers in active service.
Through gaining more diesel-electric submarines from Russia or producing them domestically, the PLA Navy possesses enough underwater threat to take on the United States Navy in any potential conflict. All of the diesel-electric submarines are equipped with air-independent propulsion systems, which allow a non-nuclear submarine to operate without the need to access atmospheric oxygen and to stay underwater for a longer period of time.
The nuclear strike capability of the PLA has increased dramatically with the DF-41 nuclear solid-fueled road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile and the JL-2 intercontinental-range submarine-launched ballistic missile in service.
At the same time, China is producing more and more fourth-generation fighters such as the J-11B, the J-15, the J-16 and the J-10B. China has no intention of challenging US influence around the globe, however, it has enough air and naval forces to conduct an anti-access and area-denial strategy over the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.