The launch of the aircraft carrier “Fujian” has ushered in a new chapter in the pattern of global sea power!

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Source: great rain watching nerve

Consultant: Book Talk

In 1910, the United States made a strange experiment on an armored cruiser named Pennsylvania. The experimenter tried to take off a plane from the ship.

I have to admire the human brain here. Not long after the aircraft was invented, people began to try to make it take off from various strange places.

The experiment was very successful. The plane took off from the ship successfully, and the aviation industry of mankind took another big step forward.

So what’s the use of putting a large number of broad ground airports aside and simply allowing planes to take off from narrow, short and dangerous ships?

It seems useless.

There is no need to think about it for civilian use. No ordinary people have such a need to ascend to heaven at sea. For military use, the aircraft at that time was poorly designed and had low performance. The only fire output that could be achieved was that the pilot took a gun and shot it from the sky to the ground.

However, the main force fighting on the sea is the warships armed to the teeth. A few broken bullets can’t do anything about the steel shell of any warship. So, innovation is innovation, but it’s useless.

At that time, the only function of this kind of aircraft taking off from the ship was reconnaissance. In those days, there was no radar. The way for warships to search for the enemy was to rely on the lookout to stand on the high Observatory and look with the naked eye through a telescope. If there is an airplane flying in the sky, the natural efficiency will be higher.

Therefore, a warship named “aircraft carrier” specially carrying this kind of reconnaissance aircraft appeared in the Navy sequence.

Replacement of kingship




At the beginning of the twentiethcentury, aircraft carriers were not the protagonists in the battlefield. At that time, the protagonists were all kinds of artillery and giant ships. Naval battles were fought with hundreds of artillery. Aircraft carriers could only crouch in the distance.

This kind of “melon eating warship” will not naturally become the main direction of development of all countries. But sometimes the fate of a warship depends not only on its own struggle, but also on the course of history

After the end of World War I, the powers that realized the importance of sea power began to engage in a frantic maritime arms race. One after another, huge ships with heavier tonnage, thicker armor and larger artillery were launched in turn. The scene was extremely lively. However, this has affected the financial departments of various countries.

In 1921, the money bags of the great powers were finally overwhelmed. All of us think that we can’t be so involved anymore. We have to sit down and have a good talk to dispel the flames of the arms race. So all countries went to Washington, and after some bargaining, they finally signed the Washington treaty aimed at jointly cutting the number of battleships.


According to the treaty, capital ships with a tonnage of more than 10000 tons and a main gun caliber of more than 203 mm are regarded as capital ships. The gross tonnage limit of capital ships in various countries is:

USA ? 525000 tons;

Britain ? 525000 tons;

Japan ? 315000 tons;

France ? 175000 tons;

Italy ? 175000 tons;

The nature of this treaty is similar to the Treaty on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive weapons signed between the United States and the Soviet Union at the end of the 20th century, which is to control the number of weapons each has. But at the beginning of the 20th century, the world’s killer was the battleship.

It was a painful thing to burn money for an arms race in peacetime. Now that the treaty was signed, everyone was naturally happy to supervise and abide by it. They went home and began to abolish those expensive battleships.

But there is a problem. At this time, many super large battleships of the United States and Japan were just half built, so it is a pity to throw them away as scrap iron. After all, the original intention of the treaty was to save money, not to spoil property.

Therefore, the treaty specifically leaves a gap for this situation, allowing countries to convert half of the semi-finished warships into aircraft carriers, and agreeing on the share (the United States and Britain shall not exceed 135000 tons, Japan shall not exceed 81000 tons, and France and Italy shall not exceed 60000 tons)

At that time, it seemed that this kind of ship was large and had little attack power. It was just waste utilization to change it into an aircraft carrier.

In practice, Britain changed the smaller “shush cruiser” (really called this name) into an aircraft carrier, while the United States and Japan changed the semi-finished battleships with more than 40000 tons in the shipyard into heavy aircraft carriers. So the two countries had the first batch of heavy aircraft carriers in the world.

Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi:


At the beginning of the transformation, the structure of the aircraft carrier was also diverse and not easy to use. In order to exploit the loopholes in the treaty, people even installed a large number of 203 mm main guns on the aircraft carrier in an attempt to use them as heavy cruisers.

Installation of heavy artillery on the aircraft carrier deck:


In the final analysis, the aircraft carrier is just a marginalized freak and is not regarded as the protagonist of the battlefield.

Later, as we all know, with the continuous development of aircraft technology, these carrier based aircraft taking off from ships gradually have the ability to throw heavy bombs and torpedoes.

In the Pearl Harbor incident, four Japanese aircraft carriers sent out hundreds of planes and rode on the face of the US warship parked in the port with a torpedo bomb. Within one day, they wiped out all eight heavy battleships of the US Pacific Fleet.

The bee colony stung Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the whole world was in an uproar:


After this battle, the aircraft carrier leaped from the edge of the battlefield to the center of the stage. After that, in almost all the sea decisive battles, the battleships were tortured to the north. Finally, the last hope of the “battleship party”: the largest battleship “Yamato” in human history was easily trampled to death by the aircraft carrier fleet.

The sinking of the Yamato (film stills):


The former maritime King battleship was swept into the historical garbage can by the aircraft carrier. After World War II, the power of the sea was firmly held in the hands of the aircraft carrier.

Is the aircraft carrier out of date?





The world pattern after World War II was the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union, and the maritime forces of both sides naturally became the focus of competition. However, it was at this stage that the position of aircraft carriers in the Jianghu accumulated in World War II was once challenged because missiles were invented.

The missile is powerful. Its appearance makes the traditional warship armor meaningless. No matter how thick the steel plate is, it can not carry an anti-ship missile chasing you. In that case, isn’t the huge aircraft carrier a huge live target?


Coupled with the long range and accuracy of the missile, it seems that it is no longer necessary to rely on aircraft to approach and drop bombs.

So Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union, believed that nuclear weapons and missiles were the masters of the future. Just as aircraft carriers eliminated battleships, so would missiles and nuclear weapons.

This time, however, history did not repeat itself.

Although the missile can threaten the aircraft carrier, its function is too single. It can not do any other work except anti aircraft carrier. This serious weapon has great limitations in practical application.

For example, if someone doesn’t obey your rules 10000 kilometers away, what should you do? Can we just send a missile with a range of 10000 kilometers? Not to mention whether this reaction is excessive or not, and whether the effect is good or not, first of all, you can’t afford the cost.

The cost of an intercontinental missile with a range of tens of thousands of kilometers is no less than that of a frigate. Do you shoot missiles for trivial things all over the world?

Moreover, you can’t understand the actual situation of the battlefield thousands of miles away. Many times, fighter planes need to see the target clearly in the air before they fight. It’s not like pressing the missile switch with your eyes closed. So people soon found such a problem:

Missiles can destroy targets, but they cannot maintain order.

The aircraft carrier is different. It is a comprehensive combat unit, including air attack, deterrence, blockade, transportation You can do any kind of work. You can say that you are a panacea. No matter what goes wrong, as long as the aircraft carrier is driven over, all specific situations can be handled reasonably.

In addition, although missiles do pose a threat to the survival of aircraft carriers, aircraft carriers generally do not act alone. They always go out with a large group of bodyguards, that is, aircraft carrier formation. Under the protection of several warships, the missiles fired from a distance have no chance to get close.


In fact, because the aircraft carrier has a very wide range of operations and perception, carrier aircraft can generally reach a radius of hundreds or even thousands of kilometers, so it is not easy for enemy warships or aircraft to safely drive into their own attack range.

This comprehensive combat capability and super survivability of the aircraft carrier make it have a strong control over the sea. Therefore, such weapons are fully capable of determining the rules of the game in a sea area, which can not be achieved by any other weapons, including missiles and nuclear submarines.

As a result, the Soviet Union, which used a lot of resources to build missiles and nuclear submarines, was foolish. It spent so much money, but it has been unable to shake the United States’ global sea power.

Gorshkov, the father of the Soviet Navy aircraft carrier, was aware of this problem. However, it was difficult to change the high-level concept. He could only take the route of curving to save the country and build aircraft carriers in the name of cruisers, namely “heavy aircraft cruisers”.

The product of this compromise is naturally a “four dissimilarities”, wasting a lot of space to install equipment unrelated to the main business of the aircraft carrier, while the fighter has become a supporting role.

“Sibuxiang” aircraft carrier with a large number of missiles and artillery:


It was not until the late Soviet Union that the country’s Navy changed its thinking and began to build an authentic aircraft carrier. However, it was too late because the whole country disintegrated soon.

Where is the American aircraft carrier strong?





At present, the world’s oceans are undoubtedly the world of the United States. They have 11 heavy aircraft carriers, with tonnage and combat power exceeding that of other countries combined.

Different from the sea power pattern of power disputes over more than 100 years ago, the navies of today’s major powers have already given up struggling under the pressure of 11 US aircraft carriers.

They don’t even have a heavy aircraft carrier, and they have no intention to compete with the United States at all, which also means that countries have completely accepted the various rules formulated by the United States. The reason why countries lie flat is very simple:

The United States’ aircraft carrier really can’t beat it.

So where is the American aircraft carrier?

Unlike most national aircraft carriers, American aircraft carriers have one very important equipment: catapults

In the propeller age of World War II, the aircraft was relatively small and needed a slow take-off speed. It could easily take off from a short aircraft carrier deck without external force.


But things are different in the jet age. The weight and body shape of high-speed jet fighter are much larger than those of propeller aircraft, so it requires high take-off speed, which also means that it needs a long runway

Of course, the length of the runway of the aircraft carrier is much shorter than that of the land airport, so it is very difficult for the jet aircraft to take off from the aircraft carrier by its own power. If it is not careful, it will directly fall into the sea.


What shall I do? There are three solutions:

The first scheme:

The aircraft carrier is equipped with a seesaw, so that the fighter can rise when taking off, and it is not easy to fall down.

But the drawback is that the takeoff is still a little reluctantly, and the aircraft has to control its weight, so it is often unable to achieve a full load of weapons. Moreover, despite the seesaw, the taxi distance required for takeoff is still relatively long, which leads to great limitations in the scheduling of aircraft carrier deck.

Another problem with the seesaw is that there is no way to stop the aircraft in the seesaw bow area, so the aircraft carrier capacity is greatly affected. Finally, there is only one seesaw, so only one plane can take off at a time, which is very inefficient.


The second scheme:

Develop fighters that can take off and land at short vertical distances.

Since the aircraft can take off and land vertically, things are naturally much simpler. The seesaw of the aircraft carrier is no longer needed. Even light aircraft carriers with small deck area can take off this kind of fighter, even cargo ships.


However, the disadvantage is that since VTOL is to be realized, it is naturally necessary to install a VTOL system in the aircraft.

This system is of no help to the performance of the aircraft. It is a huge burden in combat, affecting mobility. It also occupies the weight that should have been used to carry ammunition and fuel, seriously reducing the combat effectiveness of the aircraft.

Cumbersome VTOL system:


The third scheme:

It is also the best solution. The aircraft carrier is equipped with a very complex catapult like ejection system, which uses the elasticity to give the aircraft an acceleration. It only needs a short distance to realize the takeoff of the fighter.

Ejection takeoff:


The ejection system has many advantages. With the support of external forces, fighters no longer need to “control their weight” and can take off with full weapons; At the same time, some larger aircraft, such as the fixed wing early warning aircraft, can also take off from the carrier.

Moreover, the take-off distance required for ejection is short, which is convenient for the flexible scheduling of the deck. In addition, the aircraft carrier with the ejection system naturally no longer needs a seesaw deck, which means that the entire deck on the aircraft carrier is flat, so a large number of aircraft can be parked in the area including the bow.

More importantly, as long as multiple catapults are installed, multiple aircraft can take off at the same time to maximize the attack efficiency of fighters.

However, the ejection system is good, but it also has a major drawback:

High threshold.

First of all, the structure of this system is very complex, and the aircraft carrier must be large enough to fit.

The US heavy aircraft carrier can install four catapults, while the French medium aircraft carrier can only install two. These two are overweight. As a result, the French navy had to choose a simplified catapult with a shorter length (from 90 meters to 75 meters), and the result of this simplification was that the catapult was unable to launch overweight fighters.

However, the main French fighter “Rafale” itself is relatively light, so it can be used, but it will be impossible to upgrade to a heavy carrier aircraft in the future.

French aircraft carrier de Gaulle:


It is worth mentioning that the ejection system used by France was not developed by France, but directly purchased from the United States. In fact, for a long time after World War II, only the United States was developing and manufacturing aircraft carrier ejection systems in the world. So why don’t other countries try it on their own?

The main reason is that the cost is too high and the demand is too small to dilute the cost to an acceptable level. Even one of the five permanent members like France needs two in total. It is obviously not cost-effective to spend billions of dollars on research and development for such a demand. For them, “buying is better than making” is a reasonable choice.

However, even if it is not cheap to buy, most countries simply choose to skate on the deck to nip the pressure of the wallet in the cradle.

For example, the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier in Britain was designed to buy American catapults at the beginning, but when it was half built, it found that it was short of money, so it quickly pulled back from the precipice and changed to a ski jump aircraft carrier. For this reason, it specially bought f35b vertical short-range take-off fighter for matching.

British Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier:


These choices are all cost problems. Only a large country can have the financial resources to plan and produce a large number of aircraft carriers, and only a large number of aircraft carriers are worth investing in the research and development of catapults.

So don’t look at the fact that many countries have aircraft carriers like the United States. In fact, our combat effectiveness is not at the same level. The aircraft carriers of various countries, both in tonnage and combat effectiveness, have been crushed by American aircraft carriers.

In this case, it is not surprising that people choose to lie flat. This global flattening has also led to the United States’ maritime hegemony reaching an unprecedented height in human history.

Thus, from the two world wars to the cold war, the global sea power pattern has finally settled after decades of iron and blood disputes. The United States has sat on the “iron throne” of the global ocean, holding 11 heavy catapult aircraft carriers. They have the right to tilt the ocean and seek defeat alone.

In the whole process, China is just a spectator. No matter how fiercely the various powers have fought for the sea, there is nothing wrong with China.

Because in most of the time of Chinese civilization, he was a dry duck.

Dry ducks also have dreams





In Chinese history, China had no interest in “expeditioning overseas barbarians” until the late Qing Dynasty. Although they made great efforts to build the Navy later on, this service will eventually strive to strengthen its national strength, which can not be played by the weak modern China.

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, with the rapid development of the navies of various countries, the Chinese Navy left only the “record” of the total annihilation of the Beiyang Navy and the sinking of the Republic of China Navy in Jiangkou.

Dingyuan of self explosion:


In the first half of the 20th century, the world Navy witnessed a blowout development. When the PLA Navy was established on April 23, 1949, it had only 13 people, including a cook.

For a long time after the founding of the people’s Republic of China, restricted by national strength, the development of its navy could only follow the route of “air diving”. In other words, there are no large warships. The Navy mainly relies on land aviation, underwater submarines and small fast ships on the surface to support its facade.


Although relying on the PLA’s abundant military ethics, new China simply relied on these small boats to overturn many enemy ships. However, as one of the five permanent members, this naval configuration is a little too shabby, and it is difficult to think of a distant place. Not to mention comparing with other great powers, even India can not compare. In the 1950s, India built a British aircraft carrier for World War II.

In China, let alone aircraft carriers, we didn’t even have reliable ship-based air defense missiles in the 1980s. In those days, the Navy could only admit defeat in case of air attack by enemy aircraft.

Until the 1990s, the ships owned by the Chinese Navy were still a group of “old, weak, sick and disabled” that fell behind the times. Therefore, when we saw the “Zentraedi technology” of the US Navy, we were stunned.


It is reasonable to say that the major powers are lying flat, and China should have no other choice. But after all, China is a big country handed down by its ancestors, and even landlubbers have great dreams.

Is there any way to quickly support the Navy?

There are still some methods. The navy is characterized by highly concentrated resources on a few main warships. In other words, as long as you have a few powerful warships, the naval strength can be significantly improved.

So the quickest way is to buy some high-grade goods directly, which was used by the Beiyang Navy in the Qing Dynasty. In modern times, India, Brazil and other developing countries have done the same: they have spent a lot of money to buy several large ships, or even a second-hand aircraft carrier, and the Navy’s platoon will soon be up.

But it was precisely because of the lessons learned by the Beiyang Navy that the Chinese people knew very well that the fleet they bought was unreliable.

For example, Brazil bought a retired French aircraft carrier, but it was paralyzed soon after driving home. The Brazilian Navy, which lacked the ability of maintenance and support, had to let it lie prone in the port all the time. After ten years of tossing and turning, it had to be dismantled.


It is not easy to maintain the healthy working state of an aircraft carrier. It does not mean that it will be finished when it is bought and put back. It also requires a lot of resources and technical input at ordinary times.

The system contained in the aircraft carrier, a top-level naval equipment, is very huge. If everything in it is bought, the cost will be very high. No country can afford it.

Only by building ships by ourselves can we control the cost, especially if we want to build and maintain a large-scale fleet, we need to be self reliant.

Therefore, the main development route of China’s naval equipment is based on imitation rather than purchase of foreign equipment, trying to hold its lifeline in its own hands, which is actually the basic route for the development of China’s military industry as a whole.

Of course, every time you buy something, you only buy a little. When you buy it back, it is not for use, but for imitation; Once the imitation is successful, you will not buy it, and even take the imitation to the market to seize the business of the original seller. The seller must be more and more unwilling to do business with you (unless he is poor and crazy).

In addition, countries are already wary of China’s military development, so it is more and more difficult for China to purchase arms outside China, which forces China to take the road of self-reliance more and more firmly.

However, the real world is hard power. Although China has made remarkable achievements in many military fields on its own, it has been unable to start the aircraft carrier project. For no other reason, aircraft carriers are too difficult to build.

However, while sending away the Soviet Union, history also quietly left “Varyag” for China: a semi-finished aircraft carrier parked in the Black Sea shipyard in Nikolayev, Ukraine.


This semi-finished ship that can never be completed is just a pile of scrap iron for most countries, but it is a shortcut for China to climb the aircraft carrier technology tree in a short time, so China decided to buy it back and build it.

It is worth mentioning that although “Varyag” is just an empty shell, it takes a lot of trouble to really introduce it.

This hull was stuck when it just passed through the Bosporus Strait in Turkey. People wouldn’t even let you out of the Black Sea. As a result, China had to mediate through diplomatic channels. Finally, the whole delivery journey took more than 600 days to complete the mission and pull back to its own port.

This process itself proves that there is no sea domination without aircraft carriers. Look at you bullying. Any cat or dog in the world can jam your maritime trade line at any time, anywhere and for any reason.

If this situation is not improved, all your future development achievements will be just a mirage.

“Varyag” is of great help to China’s aircraft carrier cause. Its 60000 ton hull enables China to cross the stage of light aircraft carrier and start directly from medium-sized aircraft carrier.

However, because the design of Varyag is relatively old (named “Liaoning” after its service), it is a traditional ski jump aircraft carrier. Although it is a historic breakthrough for China, it can only be regarded as standard and not prominent compared with the aircraft carriers of other powerful countries.


If China, like other countries, fully accepts the current pattern of sea power, then the 60000 ton medium-sized ski jump aircraft carrier “Liaoning” will be fully sufficient. It is enough to ensure that China’s overseas interests will not be bullied by a cat and dog, and it is worthy of the great power status of the five permanent members.

But the problem is that it is not only cats and dogs that threaten China’s overseas interests and even the security of its coastline, but also the most powerful opponent in the world.

Accept your fate? Does not exist.

The PLA aircraft carrier plan did not intend to stop on the medium-sized ski jump aircraft carrier from the beginning. After successfully building the second ski jump aircraft carrier “Shandong”, the Chinese immediately turned their attention to the project of heavy ejection aircraft carrier.


This time, benchmarking the American ship.

Overtaking on curve




We have mentioned catapults so many times before. What is the principle of catapult technology?

In fact, the catapult itself has been developing. The earliest way is to drag the steel cable with heavy objects to pull the aircraft to take off (invented by Britain in World War II); Later, compressed air and gas assisted aircraft took off.

After World War II, with the emergence of fighter jets and the increasing size of fighter planes, the above-mentioned early catapults could not be carried, and large steam catapults began to become the mainstream of ejection. This kind of steam catapult can only be made in the United States.

The principle of steam ejection is not complicated, that is, the boiler on the aircraft carrier burns water to let the steam enter the steam drum for energy storage. When the aircraft takes off, the aircraft carrier presses the switch to let the high-pressure steam rush into the cylinder and push the cylinder piston forward.

Because the piston length of the steam catapult is too long (up to 90 meters), it can only be designed as a C-shaped cylinder with a slit on it. The piston drives the traction block through the slit to pull the front wheel of the aircraft.


There is a seam that will inevitably leak steam, so how to try not to leak after the piston movement is a difficult problem. This also leads to high machining accuracy requirements for C-shaped cylinder.

However, even if various measures are taken, steam leakage cannot be completely avoided, but it is reduced to a small proportion as far as possible.

At present, US aircraft carriers consume one ton of steam per ejection. This is a huge consumption of fresh water and energy. Even if nuclear powered aircraft carriers produce steam by continuously evaporating and desalinating seawater through nuclear power, the resource pressure is still relatively high.

Steam leaked during ejection:


Another problem with steam ejection is that the power distribution during the whole ejection process is not uniform.

When the piston just bounced up, the steam pressure was very high, which made the aircraft overloaded when starting. The pilot felt as if he had been kicked. But when the piston slides to the end, the steam pressure will be insufficient. At this time, the ejection force will become very weak.

The effect is that the pilot is very uncomfortable, and it is difficult to raise the upper limit of the aircraft’s take-off speed.

Although there are many disadvantages, on the whole, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and there is no better choice. Therefore, for a long time, steam catapults represent the highest configuration of aircraft carriers.

If there is no accident, China’s ejection aircraft carrier will also start from learning from the steam ejection of the United States. However, while China was still deeply involved in the research of steam ejection system, a new technology emerged:

Electromagnetic ejection

Unlike steam ejection, it is a product of another technology tree.


Its principle is equivalent to that of a linear motor. First, a large amount of electric energy is stored by the energy storage device, and then released in a very short time to generate a strong electromagnetic force to drive the fighter to take off. Each time it is launched, about 30 to 40 degrees of electricity can be converted into mechanical energy in 2 seconds.

There is no waste of steam in electromagnetic ejection. In addition, the power output is uniform, and there will be no confusion in the ejection process. Not only is the pilot more comfortable, but it is also easy to increase the takeoff speed of the aircraft: just lengthen the track length. Because there will be no dynamic attenuation, theoretically, the speed can be increased infinitely by infinitely lengthening the track.

It can be seen that compared with steam ejection, the comprehensive combat power of electromagnetic ejection has been qualitatively improved.

Data comparison between American electromagnetic ejection aircraft carrier and steam ejection aircraft carrier:


Since there are so many advantages, why hasn’t it been widely used before? The reason is also very simple: the technical difficulty is too high. The energy storage and control of the power grid is a big problem.

The United States was the first to install this artifact on the latest generation of Ford class aircraft carriers. Various signs show that the career of the United States Navy can be continued for decades with this artifact.

However, as the largest modern industrial country in the world, China can always bring some surprises to everyone.

Just a few years after the launch of the U.S. aircraft carrier Ford, China’s new aircraft carrier suddenly cornered and overtaken, skipping the steam ejection stage directly and embarking on electromagnetic ejection in one step.

This is the “Fujian” aircraft carrier launched today.


Comparison between “Fujian” aircraft carrier (first from the left) and world mainstream aircraft carriers:


Before the “Fujian” appeared, no aircraft carrier of any country could be compared with the US aircraft carrier. In terms of single ship combat effectiveness, they could not even reach half of the US aircraft carrier.

The emergence of “Fujian” broke this balance of power completely.

This is a conventional aircraft carrier with nearly 90000 tons and three electromagnetic catapults. Its hardware strength has exceeded the peak of the conventional aircraft carrier “Kitty Hawk” (the ship retired after the service of “Ford”), and is very close to the Nimitz class nuclear aircraft carrier with four steam catapults (currently the main force of the US Army, a total of 10).


It is worth mentioning that the electromagnetic ejection system and electromagnetic arresting system used by “Fujian” are both DC power grids, which are superior to the AC system used by the latest Ford class aircraft carrier in the United States in terms of technology advancement and complexity.

The advantage of DC power grid is that it can avoid the power grid oscillation accident caused by super large electrical appliances, which is still a stubborn disease of Ford class aircraft carriers using AC power grid. The ship now breaks down on average every hundreds of launches. Moreover, the fault is that the power grid of the whole ship is paralyzed, and all catapults are down, resulting in the aircraft unable to take off.

Because of frequent failures, “Ford” aircraft carrier has been in service for five years, but it has not been deployed yet.

Fujian (003) vs Ford


This is the first time since World War II that a heavy catapult aircraft carrier close to the combat power of the United States aircraft carrier has appeared outside the United States. Its key technologies are even ahead of the United States. At this moment, their originally solid maritime hegemony has loosened.


Of course, no matter how powerful the aircraft carrier is, it is only the carrier of the fighter. The actual combat effectiveness of aircraft carriers ultimately depends on the duel between carrier aircraft.

Lord of the sea and air




The strongest fighter in the United States is the F-22, a fourth generation aircraft. In addition to China’s j-20, there is no fighter in the world that can compete with it. Unfortunately, they are both land-based fighters and cannot take off and land on aircraft carriers.

So should Americans arrange such a big killer for aircraft carriers?

They really thought that the initial plan of the US Navy was to develop a carrier based twin engine heavy fighter natf with the same combat power as F22.


But as soon as the cold war ended, Americans suddenly felt that they had entered an invincible realm.

Invincible is so lonely. Since it is already invincible, why do you work so hard? As a result, natf was forced to dismount, and the U.S. aircraft carrier finally got only the three and a half generations of carrier based fighters that were cheap and invisible: the Super Hornet.


This choice seemed reasonable at that time. The US Army, which was already invincible in the world, really did not need to continue to develop particularly powerful weapons. It was better to save money and do something else.

However, the fourth generation aircraft is a trend after all. The navy can not always play with the third generation aircraft. Therefore, after entering the 21st century, the United States has developed a new fourth generation aircraft –f35.

The performance of this fourth generation machine is much worse than that of F22, but it is cheap and widely used. The manufacturer has developed three models for different use scenarios:

F-35a land-based air force

F-35B vertical short takeoff and landing

F-35c shipborne ejection type


The advent of F35 marks a new height for Americans to save money: one kind of aircraft can meet all their needs, and the land and sea can all live at once.

Among them, the f-35a has the strongest performance, but its takeoff and landing mode is the same as that of conventional fighters. It can only take off and land at land airports, mainly for the air force.

The vertical take-off and landing F-35B has the widest range of applications. It can become a carrier based aircraft for all kinds of aircraft carriers and even amphibious attack ships. All at once, it lowers the threshold for the use of aircraft carriers. Buyers only need light aircraft carriers to obtain good combat effectiveness. Therefore, this type of aircraft is highly sought after by US allies who want to play with light aircraft carriers.

The f-35c, an authentic carrier based aircraft specially designed for the ejection of aircraft carriers, is the most unpopular, with few orders.

The reason is not difficult to understand, because only the United States and France have ejection aircraft carriers in the world, including France. Therefore, the main buyer of the aircraft is only the United States Navy. How it sells depends on the face of the United States Navy.

However, the U.S. Navy doesn’t like this product at all.

The design concept of F35 is “all-round”, which is one-stop for the sky, the earth and the sea. But doing so will also lead to another problem: lack of expertise in any field.

For example, in order to achieve the ability of ground attack, the fuselage was designed to be relatively wide to facilitate loading bombs. As a result, the appearance of the whole aircraft was bloated and fat, and was nicknamed “Feidian 35”.


The biggest problem with this fuselage design is the high flight resistance, so the F35 is the slowest among the four generations of aircraft in various countries, and it is difficult to deal with the sudden attack of high-speed aircraft groups in actual combat.

Another problem with the F35 is that it has only one engine. Although the technology of this engine is very advanced and the power is also very powerful, the single engine structure objectively reduces the battlefield survival probability of the aircraft. As long as there is something wrong with this engine, it will be all over. Especially in the vast sea, there is no chance of forced landing.

In the final analysis, the f-35c is not a carrier based aircraft specially designed for boarding, but just makes do with it to perfunctory the Navy.

The U.S. Navy also “reciprocates” for such a perfunctory attitude. So far, all their aircraft carrier based aircraft have not been upgraded to f35c, but the amphibious assault ship is equipped with f35b for vertical take-off and landing. The U.S. Navy still relies heavily on the f/a-18, a third and a half generation fighter (“Super Hornet”).

In the past, this kind of wrangling among Americans was harmless, because whether it was the f/a-18, F-35B, or f-35c, they were the strongest carrier based aircraft in the world. No matter how they chose internally, it would not affect the absolute leading position of the US Navy Aviation in the world.

But now the situation is different, because the fourth generation of carrier based aircraft prepared by China to launch aircraft carriers has surfaced: the J-35

From the number, it is not difficult to find that this type of aircraft is the F-35 of the United States. However, unlike the F-35, the J-35 has no “decathlon” baggage. It is specially designed for boarding the ship. It does not care about the cost and does not look ahead and backward. It gives priority to the needs of Shipborne air combat.

Under this guiding ideology, the figure of the J-35 is designed to be very slim, unlike the F-35, which has so much “fat”.

This design focuses more on mobility and speed, and is a perfect air combat machine. In the future, after changing to ws19 engine, the aircraft will also have supersonic cruise capability, which can intercept enemy aircraft groups faster. At the same time, the combination of twin engines provides greater reliability and is more suitable for on-board operations.

Picture reprinted from Weibo:


As mentioned above, the catapult aircraft carrier can easily take off large aircraft, so big guys like the early warning aircraft will also join the carrier based aircraft camp of the Chinese Navy, and China will also become the only country other than the United States that mass produces the catapult carrier based early warning aircraft.

Effect drawing of Shipborne early warning aircraft:


Of course, there are also large-scale shipborne UAVs ready to board.


As the most modest learner in the world, the development idea of China’s navy is also very straightforward: I also want to have some in the United States.




China is a land power with a long history. After thousands of years of trial and error, we have already understood the law of land power struggle. But now the ocean slowly unfolding in front of us is a brand-new world. The rules here are completely different from those on land.

There are no dangerous passes in the sea, and there are no strategic avenues. Modern large warships can easily drive to any corner of the world, and logistics are much simpler than the army. This determines a characteristic of the sea power pattern:

There is no room for two tigers in one mountain.

In the same sea area, there is no situation where several forces divide and rule. The sea power in a sea area only belongs to one Navy, that is, the strongest navy in the sea area. They can block whoever they want here, and make whatever rules they want. No one can “settle in a corner” on the sea.

Today, the U.S. Navy’s strategy is to deploy weapons around the world. They have at least one aircraft carrier formation on duty in any major sea area on the earth. Therefore, countries in all regions can not hide from each other, or they will be honest and obedient; Or go face to face with the US aircraft carrier formation and compare with it.

In other words, if you want to live your own life at home, you must at least have a fleet that can outrun the U.S. aircraft carrier fleet at home. This goal does not look like it can be achieved, so it is not surprising that countries have chosen to lie flat.

The birth of the “Fujian” aircraft carrier marks that China has made another choice: face the US Navy directly.

This is the first time that the sea power of the United States has been directly challenged after World War II. The era that they can control a sea area by sending an aircraft carrier is gone forever.

In the future, they will either accept the fact that they have lost their hegemony in the Asia Pacific sea area, or relax their hegemony in other sea areas and transfer more aircraft carriers to the Asia Pacific region to maintain their advantages. However, even if the United States maintains its advantage by increasing the number of regional aircraft carriers, it will not last long.

The rhythm of American aircraft carrier construction is to start one, service one, medium-term refueling and overhaul one, and retire one; Every five years, a new aircraft carrier will be built to replace a decommissioned aircraft carrier. The average service life of each aircraft carrier is about 50 years, with a rotation of 50 years.

However, in the past decade, due to the impact of de industrialization, the productivity of the U.S. shipbuilding industry began to increase, and the production rate of new ships could not catch up with the aging rate of old ships. As a result, the service pace of new aircraft carriers was forced to slow down, and only three aircraft carriers were in service in the first 20 years of the 21st century.

The fundamental reason for this situation is that the productivity of the country has been unable to support such a large fleet. The final result is:

New ships and slow maintenance > More and more overdue assignments > The shipyard is getting busier and busier > There are more old ships waiting to be repaired and retired… Finally, the old ships can only be used against various faults.

After aging, American aircraft carriers are often not updated and repaired in time. For example, the “Ford” class has been delayed for several years than the original plan and has not been able to form combat effectiveness. The refueling and overhaul of the “Washington” has also taken as long as six years, which has seriously affected the update and maintenance progress of the ships waiting behind.

The U.S. military has a lot of territory to manage on the earth. Their aircraft carriers look like a lot, but they are actually a turnip and a pit. Now half of them have been lying in the nest for a long time. It is obvious that it is beyond its power to continue to maintain global hegemony.

Therefore, the number of aircraft carriers that the US military can increase in the Asia Pacific region is very limited. We can’t give up all other places for the sake of one Asia Pacific region.

Of course, from the perspective of China, we can’t expect the kindness of our opponents and our own luck. It’s up to the US military to make its own arrangements. Anyway, their 11 aircraft carriers really exist.

In addition, as mentioned above, the cost of developing aircraft carrier catapults is very high. If the number of products is not enough, even the cost can not be diluted. So now that China has done so, it will not just build oneortwo. The “Fujian” is just the beginning.

Of course, this road will be very difficult. At present, the United States still holds the power of the sea and firmly occupies the hegemony of the global sea. However, China’s choice to face power directly is not surprising, because the following sentence has always been engraved in our bones:

Would it be better to have a seed?


(image source: Weibo Dabao CG)


Appendix: list of major national aircraft carriers:


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