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Expert: China's aircraft carrier outdoes Russia's in weapon quality

(People's Daily Online)

08:39, October 09, 2012

Translated by People's Daily Online

Cui Yiliang, executive editor of the Modern Ships magazine, answered some questions about China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, from registered users of the People's Daily Online on the morning of Sept. 28.

When asked about the differences between the Liaoning and Russia's aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, Cui said that the Liaoning was refitted from the Varyag, the sister ship of the Admiral Kuznetsov. Both ships were produced by the former Soviet Union. The Admiral Kuznetsov was in fact the first aircraft carrier independently built by the former Soviet Union, and many of its design flaws were corrected in the Varyag.

Cui said that according to photos published by the media, the Liaoning is quite different from both the Admiral Kuznetsov and the original Varyag. The most marked changes occurred in their radar and electronic systems as well as defensive weapons. The phased array radar is a prominent feature of the Admiral Kuznetsov, but was not installed on the former Soviet Union's second aircraft carrier, the Varyag, because of the radar's unsatisfactory performance. The Liaoning also has a phased array radar system, but it was produced by China and must perform better than that on the Admiral Kuznetsov. This is the biggest change.

"Another marked changed occurred in the close-in weapon system," Cui said. The Liaoning loses to the Admiral Kuznetsov in the quantity of weapons, but wins in the quality. Compared to the Admiral Kuznetsov built in the 1980s, the Liaoning has more access to new technologies, new equipment, and even new design ideas. As for the combat strength of aircraft carriers, it is not enough to just consider the aircraft carriers themselves. Carrier-based aircraft are the core of a carrier battle group. We need to pay close attention to the carrier-based aircraft that will be deployed on the Liaoning because the combat strength of aircraft carriers actually depends on their aircraft.

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