China Is Building Another Aircraft Carrier (and It Could Be a Game Changer)

Despite having similar steam turbo engines, the new carrier will do away with the curled-up bow as aircraft will be catapulted from launch pads, although it remains to be seen if the novel electromagnetic system which the Chinese military has been testing for years will be put into use on the carrier.

While China is readying its first home-built aircraft carrier – now doing sea trials in the Bohai Sea – for delivery to the navy by the end of the year, preparations are also underway to build a second carrier in Shanghai.

China's Greatest Wish: Is Taiwan's Air Force Dying?

Now the Taiwanese military is looking to boost its surface-to-air missile deterrence to fend off incoming Chinese warplanes, as its relatively small fleet of fighters is becoming overstretched.

The wear and tear on Taiwan’s military aircraft are increasing, as they need to take off to intercept or monitor Chinese bombers or spy planes whenever they approach, an almost daily occurrences now that Beijing’s breaches of the island’s airspace is so frequent that it’s no longer news.

The Real Story of Why the Navy Hates 'Small' Aircraft Carriers

There were also advantages in building more, smaller carriers. For the first time in decades the number of carriers dropped below twenty, making it increasingly unlikely that enough flight decks would be available during a conventional war to service all requirements. Spreading naval aviation out among more platforms made it more resistant to individual wartime carrier losses. Finally, the increasing importance of new operating areas such as the Persian Gulf stretched existing resources.

Forget the F-35: The (Ugly) X-32 Could Have Replaced It

One thing is for certain; the X-32 was a ridiculously ugly aircraft. It looked like nothing so much as the spawn of an A-7 Corsair and a hideously deformed manatee. The F-35 is no prize from an aesthetic point of view, lacking the sleek, dangerous lines of the F-22, but the X-32 made the F-35 look positively sexy by comparison. How much should this matter? Not a bit. How much did it matter? Good question. Fighter pilots don’t like to fly aircraft that look like they could be run over by Florida speed boat.