The PLAN is in the Walking Stage
one chart, two emotions
A simple chart thanks to Damien that is interesting and should give you two things to understand and ponder about the People’s Republic of China’s Navy.
They have a long way to go up the learning curve in conducting carrier operations. They know it, but they are not discouraged. They are taking a careful, steady, long term path to figure it out. They have a lot of work to do, but they are more than happy to do it. Make no mistake, they are building updated aircraft carriers for a reason. They will build a capable force from scratch, but they will build it.
Geography is not kind to the PRC, and they know it. To get to the open Pacific they have to get past three non-friends; Taiwan, Japan and The Philippines - and then when they do, they have the Americans in Guam staring them in the face. You don’t have to spend years wargaming this. They aren’t just building the world’s largest navy as a jobs program. Their actions the last 30-years matches their strategic environment. You don’t have to like it, but you have to see it.