back to article China launches aircraft carrier the length of 2.1 brontosaurs

China has launched its own aircraft carrier – the first ship of its type to be built from scratch in the rising Asian superpower's yards. The yet-to-be-named warship was launched at a ceremony held in the northeastern port of Dalian, according to local media via the BBC. Al Jazeera reported that the 50,000 tonne carrier (she …

  1. nuked
    Facepalm

    China were only allowed to buy their previous carrier from the Ukraine under the promise of turning it into a floating casino.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Looking at the lottery of outcomes, and the fact that the House always wins, it could be argued that ownership of aircraft carriers is a casino operation. Cost overruns on the US Ford class carriers are hardly something to be proud of, and the UK's dismal mess of building carriers big enough to have catapults, but forgetting to spec them... well.

      I would beg to differ with the article though that whilst China may have built this new one themselves, it is so similar to the Kuznetsov class that it clearly is a modest design revision with a bit of the fat trimmed - hardly a true indigenous capability. If they got the paper designs from Ukraine, then all they've done is bash the metal out for a near 40 year old design, if they've tried to recreate the designs from the metal then lord knows what sort of podge up they've got.

      But, good luck to the them! Let the Chinese find out the hard way what a dismal money sink carriers are, how vulnerable they are to missiles. I suppose that their real purpose isn't to face off to the Yanks, but simply to frighten the nations round the South China Sea, and continue to prop up the regime of Fat Boy Kim.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ AC - Unlike US Navy, Chinese are way more careful

        when spending public money (hint: your internal organs risk becoming available for transplants) so it might not be such a money sink after all. Remember, in China when the communist party recommends you to be efficient you'd better be or else...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ AC - Unlike US Navy, Chinese are way more careful

          > "Remember, in China when the communist party recommends you to be efficient you'd better be or else..."

          Ask the Soviets how well that worked.

      2. Triggerfish

        I would beg to differ with the article though that whilst China may have built this new one themselves, it is so similar to the Kuznetsov class that it clearly is a modest design revision with a bit of the fat trimmed - hardly a true indigenous capability.

        While that's true, I think Chinas carrier plan seems to be based along the lines of use these to learn and work up to a full nuclear class carrier. I can't help thinking of the engineers from Kawasaki and Yamaha, coming over looking at Triumph bikes and learning from them.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          engineers from Kawasaki and Yamaha, coming over looking at Triumph bikes and learning from them

          "ok, now we know what NOT to do..."

          1. David 132 Silver badge

            @Gene Cash

            engineers from Kawasaki and Yamaha, coming over looking at Triumph bikes and learning from them

            "ok, now we know what NOT to do..."

            "Hmm. This Western technology is fiendishly complicated. What possible advantage is there to having all the oil on the OUTSIDE of the engine?"

            1. El_Fev

              More like , lets build them, but cheaper!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                I like your thinking, El_Fev. There's no need to copy yesterday's paradigms from the West. What if the Chinese were to have just one fighter jet per boat? They could build thousands of those! They could employ JATO units for vertical takeoff and then land on one of those new islands they're building in other people's waters.

                The result? A dispersed 'carrier group' that's really hard to sink. A lot more flexible too. Heck, they could even sell units to tiny countries that could never afford a proper carrier!

                Just don't call them junks...

        2. nilfs2
          Trollface

          Chinese bikes don't leak oil

          1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

            Chinese bikes don't leak oil ...

            Chinese bikes don't last long enough to need oil ...

      3. Tom Paine

        AIUI aircraft carriers are fine for asymmetrical force protection, but floating deathtraps against any sort of adversary with ballistic missiles. Can't find the link but a few months back I saw a really good summary of the problem by someone who actually knew what he was talking about (I just nod sagely when I read stuff on the internet, it's really not my area.) I do know that the Falklands campaign was a couple of lucky missile hits away from being an utter catastrophe though; if Hermes or Invincible had been hit... thousands of dead, goodnight Vienna, and hello a whole new parallel universe with a completely different history of the 80s (in the UK anyway.)

        http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-trump-carriers-specialreport-idUKKBN16G1CX is the nearest thing I can find with a couple of mins searching.

        EDIT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99NLoPtuZVY is a rather dramatic animation of how you wipe out a CBG with one tactical nuclear launch. AIU ships have very little realistic defence against ballistic missiles, whther conventional or nuclear tipped. Looks pretty quick, anyway, I'd rather be vapourised than trapped in a dark upturned metal box listening to the downflooding.

    2. gandalfcn

      Re nuked

      The fact that all the blueprints were included in the sale indicates that claim is well, a tad fake.

      1. nuked
  2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Only 1 island

    So only half as good as the QE class.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Only 1 island

      @Aladdin Sane

      Only 1 island

      So only half as good as the QE class.

      Alas, Extra Island vs Steam Catapult - no contest. Or, may be the shipbuilders managed to convince the MOD and RN - "Steam Catapults are so yesterday - what a Tier 1 Navy aircraft carrier needs is an extra island - just sign here and a lucrative job will be waiting for you when you leave government service"

    2. Mike VandeVelde
      Alert

      Re: Only 1 island

      Believe it or not...this is the transcript of an actual radio conversation between a US naval ship and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995. The Radio conversation was released by the Chief of Naval Operations on Oct. 10, 1995.

      US Ship: Please divert your course 0.5 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.

      CND reply: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

      US Ship: This is the Captain of a US Navy Ship. I say again, divert your course.

      CND reply: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course!

      US Ship: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS CORAL SEA*, WE ARE A LARGE WARSHIP OF THE US NAVY. DIVERT YOUR COURSE NOW!!

      CND reply: This is a lighthouse. Your call.

      The Obstinate Lighthouse

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Only 1 island

        snopes says that's fake, just wish it was real though!

  3. Florida1920

    ski-jump deck

    But no Olympic-size pool?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But can it pull a caravan?

    I believe it is equivalent to 25 norris.

  5. Anomalous Cowshed

    Bollocks

    An aircraft carrier is something like 200-300 metres long. There's no way a Brontosaurus was 100 metres long. You're thinking of a Bolloxosaurus, surely?

    1. Your alien overlord - fear me

      Re: Bollocks

      If you finely slice a adult brontie at an angle (to look classy) and lay the bits end on end, it'll easily reach 100m in length.

      1. Anomalous Cowshed

        Re: Bollocks

        Absolutely disgusting. Ban this person for life!

      2. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Bollocks

        If you finely slice a adult brontie at an angle (to look classy) and lay the bits end on end, it'll easily reach 100m in length.

        Yeah, but you've then got the problem of finding a large enough serving plate, cocktail sticks, and bowl of dip. It never all gets eaten, and honestly, who has fridge space for half a leftover sliced brontosaurus?

        1. julianh72

          Re: Bollocks

          I reckon a Chinese Aircraft Carrier would be a perfect serving platter for sliced brontosaur.

          1. macjules Silver badge

            Re: Bollocks

            Nah, you would spend far too long going down to one end of the deck just to see what other dips were availlable.

          2. Mooseman Silver badge

            Re: Bollocks

            well since the brontosaurus is completely ficticious, I submit it can be any length you want.

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Re: Bollocks

      There seems to be a bug in El Reg's unit conversion page : It clocks the brontosausus at 138 m instead of the more reasonnable 22 m.

      1. Marco Fontani

        Re: Bollocks

        There seems to be a bug in El Reg's unit conversion page : It clocks the brontosausus at 138 m instead of the more reasonnable 22 m.

        Thanks for pointing this out! It looks like this specific unit conversion has been wrong for quite a long time.

        I've just now updated it to have a more meaningful value, i.e. exactly 157 linguine.

    3. Smooth Newt Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Not bollocks at all

      An aircraft carrier is something like 200-300 metres long. There's no way a Brontosaurus was 100 metres long. You're thinking of a Bolloxosaurus, surely?

      I think you will find that the Chinese have been building a "pocket aircraft carrier" reminiscent of the German pocket battleships Deutschland, Admiral Scheer and Admiral Graf Spee of the Second World War.

      A brontasaurus was about 20 metres long. Whilst a 40 metre long ship might be big for Western pockets, the Chinese have very deep pockets these days.

    4. Def Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Bollocks

      The largest Brontosaurus (Pl. Brontosauruses, Brontosauri) skeleton was about 22 metres long, but the article only referred to Brontosaurs, which are their lesser known, fully made up 160 metre cousins.

  6. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    The carrier is not the real threat

    The real threat are the 85+ missile boats with 8 missiles each as well as 120+ other surface ships with 2-8 missiles each. Mix of Sunburns and indigenous stuff. Enough to overwhelm the defenses of a typical Tier one navy carrier group by sheer numbers. That is the real danger. The carrier is mostly just to project defensive umbrella over the rest, not for offense.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The carrier is not the real threat

      So if carrier groups are now obsolete, why are the Chinese building them?

    2. bazza Silver badge

      Re: The carrier is not the real threat

      "The real threat are the 85+ missile boats with 8 missiles each as well as 120+ other surface ships with 2-8 missiles each."

      And here's me wondering just how well all of that surface stuff copes with a few well driven submarines...

      1. Tom Paine

        Re: The carrier is not the real threat

        How many torpedoes do hunter-killer subs carry and how long does it take them to return to port, refuel and rearm? How good are China's shipborne anti-sub systems?

        From the way Trump's acting, we may get answers to those questions before very long...

    3. GrumpyKiwi

      Re: The carrier is not the real threat

      Sort of. Remember the sea is very big and even a carrier task force is quite small compared to that. What all those missile boats need is targeting information. And it's very hard to get such information when your enemy has air dominance and can knock down your recon drones/aircraft before they can supply such data.

      While most modern missiles can simply be fired down a vector with the hope that the onboard radar will pick something up, that is a rather poor method of engagement with a much lower chance of a successful strike.

  7. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Surprised the Chinese hackers haven't purloined someone else's blueprints for a carrier. What's that? They have the UK plans and decided to build their own. Now that says something !!!!!

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      The Chinese boat looks like purloined off Russian blueprints. Something in-between Kuznetsov class (after refurb which took the missiles out) and Ulianovsk class.

      That is not surprising as they have purloined the blueprints of the fighter to fly from it and they are pretty well matched - Su-33 requires a specific ski-jump ramp config.

      Their next (nuclear using stolen Ulianovsk class blueprints) carrier is more interesting. The two they have now are just to "lean how to use it".

  8. woofwoof
    Coat

    "What will China use their new aircraft carrier for?"

    That's an interesting question BBC, I imagine they will use it for carrying aircraft.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "What will China use their new aircraft carrier for?"

      That's a valid question from a nation who sort of has an aircraft carrier but no suitable aircraft to fly from it.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: "What will China use their new aircraft carrier for?"

        That's a valid question from a nation who sort of has an aircraft carrier but no suitable aircraft to fly from it.

        Bollocks. They have cloned Su-33 and they are flying the clones today off the ex-Varyag (Liaoing). So they definitely have MORE suitable aircraft than UK.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "What will China use their new aircraft carrier for?"

          Um, I believe JB was referring to the UK.

      2. SkippyBing

        Re: "What will China use their new aircraft carrier for?"

        'That's a valid question from a nation who sort of has an aircraft carrier but no suitable aircraft to fly from it.'

        Strictly speaking we've got 3* aeroplanes we could fly off it and a plethora of helicopters.

        *I mean we have 3 actual F-35B, there are other aeroplanes we could fly off it given the space available but I don't think anyone's done the clearance process to operate an Islander from a CV.

  9. Alister Silver badge
    Coat

    It would appear that their aircraft carrier has the unprecedented ability to launch and recover aircraft. This must be new and innovative, as the British design never managed to incorporate that feature.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Lies!

      I think you'll find that Her Majesty's aircraft carriers are perfectly able to launch and recover helicopters, as well as any and all of these fun drones from Maplin.

    2. N2 Silver badge

      HMS Ark Royal

      The real one, not the toy

      Had proper steam catapaults - after which the accountants decided otherwise.

      1. 404

        Re: HMS Ark Royal

        That will always be my favorite British aircraft carrier - through Tom Clancy novels.

        The HMS Ark Royal - never any disrespect offered or intended - she was a badass Lady.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >ability to launch and recover aircraft. ... as the British design never managed to incorporate that feature.

      You ordered an aircraft carrier, it can carry aircraft. If you wanted an aircraft taker-offer and lander you should have said so

  10. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

    Units

    Shurely the length should measured in double-decker buses?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Units

      "Shurely the length should measured in double-decker buses?"

      Or roughly 16536 toothbrushes laid end-to-end ..

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Units

        Well, my copy of the Dirty Old Man's Handbook of Measurement gives it as about 176 hookers laid end to end. ☺

        1. J.Smith

          These mean nothing to me, I only know football pitches and olympic size swimming pools.

        2. GrumpyKiwi

          Re: Units

          176 dead hookers? Surely that is in the Heavy Goods Vehicle owner/operators manual.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Units

            RE: "Heavy Goods Vehicle owner/operators manual"

            BoooooooM!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Units

          "laid end to end" - wasn't that Dorothy Parker, talking about the girls attending the Yale prom?

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Units

          176 hookers laid end to end

          on a plate. A bit stretched, but will do.

          And now for the fun part...

        5. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Units

          You'd surely have trouble walking after that...

    2. PNGuinn
      Headmaster

      Shurely the length should measured in double-decker buses?

      Shirly not.

      Maritime use rules please. Oak smoked kippers.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Oak smoked kippers.

        What a guy!

  11. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    badgers

    New unit of measurement (to me, even after many Wales, swimming poosl and other reg units). But - male or female badgers?

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: badgers

      Yeah, and the subhead claims it weighs as much as "5.7 million" badgers, yet the third paragraph specifies "5.74 million". That's some rounding error. Do 40,000 adult badgers mean so little to you, Register writers? Are you so callous and inured to the world that a compressed stack of millions of badgers is merely a numerical curiosity? For shame! I shall be cancelling my subscription forthwith, etc.

    2. Nolveys
      Headmaster

      Re: badgers

      But - male or female badgers?

      The mass difference between male and female African badgers is negligible, but if we are talking about European badgers then it's a different story.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: badgers

        @Nolveys The mass difference between male and female African badgers is negligible, but if we are talking about European badgers then it's a different story.

        And of course if it's honey badgers , well, I hear they don't give a ****.

        Come to think of it, an aircraft vessel made of 5.7 million honey badgers would certainly send out that certain "don't mess with us" message. Anyone want to suggest it to President Trump?

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: badgers

      Al Jazeera reported that the 50,000 tonne carrier (she weighs the same as 5.74 million adult badgers)

      Given that it's a ship, isn't that going to be displacement tonnes? In which case it doesn't weigh the same as all those badgers -- they need to be displacement badgers.

      Quick, someone fetch me a bathtub and an adult badger. Brock is going to have to learn how to hold his breath.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: badgers

      More to the point - African or European badgers?

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Honey badgers

        Does anybody know if Nick Cummins can swim?

  12. x 7

    Come on, this is a marine environment, so we should be measuring the tub in units of blue whales

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Come on, this is a marine environment, so we should be measuring the tub in units of blue whales"

      Thank you, Alan "x 7" Davies :-)

  13. GrumpyKiwi

    Slightly disapointing

    On the one hand, it's an impressive testimonial to China's shipbuilding industry.

    But on the other it's a copy of a flawed design - they could at least have improved it, got rid of the ski ramp and put in a catapult. Yes I am aware that for a steam catapult they'd have needed a different power design. But the Royal Navy ran cordite powered catapults for many years on their older carriers which worked perfectly well - i.e. using a charge of slower burning gunpowder to drive the catapult.

    Instead what they appear to have created is a copy of the Kuznetsov only with working toilets and on-board WiFi.

    One such ship (the Liaoning) can be justified on the grounds of "we are training on how to run a carrier", but two such flawed designs is a bit silly.

    1. CentralCoasty

      Re: Slightly disapointing

      Not so.

      1. Buy and learn.

      2. Build new based upon above incorporating learnings.

      3. Repeat option 2.

      Most of the time this is how all warships (of any type) have evolved - the exception being the "game changer" design (ie Dreadnought) which is a gamble for anything other than a country having an extremely large lead in power supremacy/projection.

      Look at the carrier evolution since the early 20's - it took 20 years for most countries to realise that they were the "new" battleship - the tool of power projection. And it took a very pain lesson (ie WWII) to introduce the rapid changes necessary that enabled the current US nuclear carriers (we wont mention the current British fiasco).

      Torpedo boats (the fore-runner of the modern small missile boats) and which we seem to think were a creation of WWII in the UK got their education from such events as the Agar's sinking of the Oleg in 1919.... but yet again the technical innovation over the next 20 years wasnt exactly staggering.

      Thankfully China has not engaged in conflicts that will allow those sort of capability leaps - but also perhaps we are forgetting where China's interests lie - the countries which China is most likely intending to "impress" with its carriers have no possibility of getting their own - now or in the near future - which will of course ensure that China stays technologically ahead of them.

      Personally I think most carriers are a waste of space & money - but its the reality in that they "look impressive" rather than what they can really deliver (I'm still not going to comment about the QE class) - in any real battle situation I would go for swarm tactics with low-level drones against targets and you dont need so many badgers to launch them from.....

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Slightly disapointing

      I don't think so. China is long past simply copying stuff. They are also very patient and work their way towards long term objectives slowly, one step at a time. Then there is the circumstance that it's nice to have matching aircraft for your carrier. IIRC, China has also their own "copy" of the corresponding jets. None of these, ships or planes, are simple knock-off copies. The designs will have been evaluated, compared with other designs and somewhat altered, with future developments in the designs in mind.

      As to catapults, well...

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Slightly disapointing

      But on the other it's a copy of a flawed design - they could at least have improved it, got rid of the ski ramp and put in a catapult.

      It was built to match their current fleet arm which uses a purloined blueprints clone of Su-33 which is not catapult launched. It is short take off, arrested landing.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Slightly disapointing

      > "Instead what they appear to have created is a copy of the Kuznetsov only with working toilets and on-board WiFi."

      So, I take it the Russian crews just waddled over to the edge of the poop deck when nature called?

  14. PhilipN Silver badge

    Any marine architects here?

    A fascinating subject but in the context of the article : several centuries ago, in response to a Dutch strategy of designing and building Bigger and Better Vessels the UK Government threw resources at designing and building Even Bigger and Better Vessels. Some years later : British Empire.

    Dunno how much but there must have been some advantage in having suitable trees in Blighty back then (after all, whisky is better when aged in American Oak barrels so why waste ours?) or possibly expertise in building barns helped.

    Moral : Government support of R&D helps.

    Moral 2 : There will be immense pride in China at having built their own carrier. You can guess where it could lead from here.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Any marine architects here?

      Dunno how much but there must have been some advantage in having suitable trees in Blighty back then

      Not much, unfortunately. By the time of the Napoleonic Wars the navy had for years been forced to build its ships from imported French oak.

  15. bwesley

    Badger size

    From http://www.badgerland.co.uk/animals/size.html

    The weight of an adult badger varies throughout the year - depending on how much fat it has laid down for the winter months. In spring an adult badger will have an average weight of 8 to 9 kg, rising to 11 to 12 kg in autumn. Occasionally individual specimens do weigh more than this, but these are generally the exception rather than the rule. Also, in territories which provide a poor food supply for the badgers, weights may be less than this.

    In addition, adult males will generally tend to be about 1 kg heavier than females of the same age; and lactating females will be as much as 1 kg less than non-lactating females.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Badger size

      Badger:

      Length: 34.80 m (114 ft 2 in)

      Wingspan: 33.00 m (108 ft 3 in)

      Height: 10.36 m (34 ft 0 in)

      Wing area: 165 m2 (1,780 sq ft)

      Empty weight: 37,200 kg (82,012 lb)

      Gross weight: 76,000 kg (167,551 lb)

      Max takeoff weight: 79,000 kg (174,165 lb)

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Badger size

        Volume. They're displacement badgers so we need the volume.

    2. CentralCoasty
      Trollface

      Re: Badger size

      So we are roughly talking about a variation of +/- 1.15 million badgers then.....

      ....but wont they weigh more when their fur is wet?

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Badger size

        So we are roughly talking about a variation of +/- 1.15 million badgers then.....

        Or the new carrier simply displaces more in autumn than it does in spring.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chinese kit

    I'll bet the bag of extra screws and washers left often from construction must be huge...

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Chinese kit

      Even better - turns out the kit was made in Taiwan, and the website is down and no-one is answering the phone line.

  17. Chris Hexter
    Headmaster

    Ukraine

    It is just Ukraine, not The Ukraine :(

  18. Potemkine Silver badge

    for now China's aircraft carrier capability has no real ability to threaten Western interests.

    The main goal of an aircraft carrier is to blast third world countries: any other country could transform the carrier in a beautiful wreck quite easily.

  19. casaloco

    Why not?

    All aircraft carriers should be built with a bullseye painted on the side of them.

    At least the old UK carriers were small enough to have a chance of being missed.

    Hence why the larger Atlantic Conveyor took the hit instead.

    1. SkippyBing

      Re: Why not?

      Repeat after me, 'size has no bearing on radar cross section'.

      1. The March Hare

        Re: Why not?

        But you get the medals for tonnage sunk.....

  20. miket82

    Chuff chuff

    Powered by Aussie coal no doubt.

  21. steviebuk Silver badge

    "Western analysts have long feared a rise of Chinese naval power, particularly in the disputed areas of the South China Sea where an awful lot of Western goods pass through. "

    Does it matter? Considering most of those "Western goods" are probably from China. So much it bought from China these days and made, we and the Americans would be screwed either way in a war. But also China would screw itself as it would have less of the world that would buy its stuff. What would happen to Apple for a start? They rely on China so much.

  22. harmjschoonhoven

    But

    what is the displacement of the latest Chinese carrier in average adult giant pandas? According to the World Wildlife Fund, pandas can swim ...

    1. IceC0ld Silver badge

      Re: But

      According to the World Wildlife Fund, pandas can swim ...

      =====

      well, I have heard that there is an equation to determine just how far a panda can swim, it goes something along the lines of :

      how deep is the water here ?

      about 150 feet

      then the pandas can swim about 150 feet ....................

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