Several developments in recent weeks point towards China’s efforts to expand the seaborne aviation capability of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). The PLAN is seeking to procure amphibious assault ships with significant aviation capability, are finishing construction on the world’s largest aircraft carrier dock, while speculation is mounting over a possible new aircraft carrier training facility and photos have emerged of construction of China’s first indigenous aircraft carrier. Currently the PLAN operates a singleton aircraft carrier which is a refitted Soviet-era ship. Now though, it would seem that China is rapidly moving to enhance its aviation capabilities which would provide a significant boost in the South China Sea dispute and elsewhere.
New Aircraft Carrier Base
According to an article in the August issue of Kanwa Defence Review, a Canada based military affairs magazine that focuses on East Asian security, defense, diplomacy, and weapons technology development issues, the PLAN finished basic construction of a new aircraft carrier dock on Hainan Island last November. Building activity is continuing though.