China unable to defeat US in carrier battle: Russian expert

Konstantin Sivkov, a Russian defense analyst, said in his piece written for Moscow-based Military Parade that even as China speeds up the development of its first domestic aircraft carrier, it would still be unable to defeat the United States in a future carrier battle.

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan travels through the Pacific Ocean with other vessels assigned to the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, north of Hawaii

Sivkov said that China had successfully changed the equipment aboard the Liaoning, the nation's first aircraft carrier introduced from Ukraine, to use domestic products. A Type 382 Sea Eagle S/C air-search radar which allows Liaoning to track 10 targets in the air simultaneously can be seen aboard the ship. It is also fitted with a set of four active electronically scanned array radar panels which give the Liaoning a very similar air defense capability to the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, according to Sivkov.

However, the Russian expert also said that China's air defense missiles can only intercept between four and five US anti-ship missiles during the first round of the fight. Under US electronic attack, the capability of Chinese air defense systems would drop to between 30% and 70%. In this scenario, the Liaoning would be able to intercept probably no more than three American anti-ship missiles in a confrontation.

The Chinese aircraft carrier can carry up to 40 J-15 carrier-based fighters and 20 different types of Ka-28 helicopters. It is able to launch 16 aircraft into the air simultaneously just like its sister ship, the Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier currently serving the Russian Navy. China's first carrier battle group is likely to be comprised of between four and five advanced destroyers such as the Type 051C, the Type 052D and Sovremennyy-class destroyers not to mentiom several Type 054A frigates.

The primary weapon systems of the Liaoning against a US aircraft carrier is the YJ-83K anti-ship missile. Sivkov said that China is unlikely to win a carrier battle against the United States with its current warship qualifications. While US destroyers can fire between 30-40 long-range anti-ship missiles against a Chinese carrier battle group 600 kilometers away, the PLA Navy's surface combat vessels can only fire 30.

In a direct confrontation with the US Navy, the chances of the Liaoning not being hit by a US anti-ship missile is only between 20% and 30%. The chances of China bringing serious damage to a US carrier is only between 7% and 15%. Meanwhile, China will lose twice or perhaps even four times the warships which the United States would. Sivkov said that it is impossible for the PLA Navy to win a carrier battle with the US in near future.

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