China's First Aircraft Carrier Is Finally Shipshape

China’s First Aircraft Carrier Is Finally Shipshape
During the Korean War, China’s greatest military resource was its vastly overwhelming personnel numbers. However, over the past three decades, the People’s Liberation Army has undergone a sea change in military strategy, evolving from a massive army with outdated Soviet weapons to a modernized fighting force, replete with aircraft, submarines, and warships—but no aircraft carriers. That is, until the Liaoning was commissioned.
The Liaoning is a 54,000 ton displacement Admiral Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier, formerly the Riga (and also Varyag) of the Soviet Navy, that the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) purchased from the Ukraine in 1998 for a paltry $25 million and has been refurbishing for the past decade.
The ship was purchased under the auspices of being converted into a floating casino off the coast of Macau by a Chinese holding company, the Chong Lot Travel Agency, and was towed to the Dalian shipyard for retrofitting. However after “failing” to obtain the necessary casino license from Macau, the PLAN took control of the vessel and instead converted it in the first aircraft carrier in the nation’s naval history. Pretty convenient.
The Liaoning measures 1000 feet long with 246 foot beam and 34 foot draft. While still sailing under the Ukrainian flag, the carrier was powered by a set of 200,000 hp steam turbines, but is now powered by a pair of 50,000 hp turbines, nine 2,011 hp turbo-generators, and six 2,011 hp diesel generators. The carrier has a top speed of roughly 32 knots and an estimated range of 3,850 nautical miles. The Liaoning carries enough supplies to keep its crew of 1,960 comfortably at sea for up to 45 days.
 

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