China Review News (CRN) recently reported on an interview with a Chinese naval military expert regarding the hot topic of China’s first aircraft carrier. The report revealed that the first Chinese aircraft carrier, which is just a refit of the long-retired Ukrainian aircraft carrier “Varyag,” arrived in China in 2002. However the Chinese top leadership did not make up their minds on China’s aircraft carrier strategy until 2004. There was a two year delay due to the decision making process. There were reports suggesting the “Varyag” is just a training carrier, but the expert disagreed, “The first aircraft carrier is indeed a combat warship, although it is not very capable.” The expert expressed the wish that China would have at least three aircraft carriers. The report also covered various technical topics regarding an aircraft carrier. The Chinese expert used U.S. aircraft carriers to make all of his comparisons. Chen Bingde, head of Chinese Army’s General Staff Department (the PLA’s Joint Chiefs of Staff) suggested that Chinese aircraft carrier technology is 20 years behind the U.S.
Source: China Review News, June 25, 2011