Tags: carrier, China, magic tricks
As Fouled Anchor posted, don’t forget about cryptology and network security. What good are assets if the enemy can hack systems to disrupt communications and cause temporary (or lasting) confusion?
First, their “new” carrier is not all that new. Actually, the Varyag was first laid down back in 1985. Originally planned for the Soviet fleet, it was never completed. Instead, at the Cold War’s end, it was scrapped of all its electronics and engines and sold off to be a floating casino. Even if the Chinese can refurbish it, at best they will be getting an old, untested ship that carries only a third as many planes as a U.S. carrier.
Similarly, the idea that the Chinese can build four new carriers over the next decade is less than realistic. It takes approximately six years to build one of our aircraft carriers, and we have been doing this for more than eight decades. By comparison, the biggest warship the Chinese have yet to build on their own is 17,000 tons, a quarter the size. More importantly, building a ship is not the same as operating it successfully.
I wonder if we should think of their aircraft carrier fleet as part of a sleight of hand trick. While attention is focused on the looming possibility of four aircraft carriers, we lose focus on the imminent threat of network disruption.
Given the costs of the carrier endeavor, I’m not sure this is intentional on the part of the Chinese or that the US Navy is even falling for the hocus pocus. But for blogosphere strategists, hopefully this is a useful paradigm for evaluating the threats.