The South China Sea has been the biggest arena for flaunting muscle, with messages sometimes implied and sometimes direct, since World War II.
Chinese aircraft carrier “Shandong”
The aircraft carrier “Shandong”, the pride of China’s national industry, left its base for the first time, passing through the Luzon Strait that connects the South China Sea to the Pacific Ocean, and stood at about 320 km east of Cape Elwanpi, the southernmost tip of the island of Taiwan. The move came in response to meetings held by the Taiwanese president in the United States that angered Beijing, according to media reports. The first Shandong, produced locally by Beijing, was inaugurated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2019. It is equipped with cruise missiles and rotary cannons capable of targeting low-flying aircraft and drones. It is highly accurate and more resistant to traffic jams to provide carriers with air traffic control, coordination of combat operations and detection of incoming threats. It consists of twenty floors. It is capable of carrying 44 aircraft including 32 combat aircraft. It is 314 meters long, weighs 70,000 tons and has a top speed of around 57 km/h.
The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz SAIL
Back in the South China Sea, one of the hottest spots on Earth, the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz was sailing about 740 kilometers east of Taiwan in the same area where the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong has been spotted. Prior to this, the “USS Nimitz” in international waters off South Korea’s Jeju Island participated in exercises by the South Korean, American and Japanese navies to build capacity to counter North Korean missile threats. . Equipped with two nuclear reactors and capable of carrying more than 80 fighter planes, reconnaissance planes and multi-role helicopters. They are usually accompanied by a number of other warships to secure and protect them, including destroyers and guided missiles. It is 332 meters long, weighs 100,000 tons and has a top speed of around 55 km/h. The Nimitz was the largest warship in the world until 2017 when the so-called American monster, the aircraft carrier Gerald Ford, began operating, from which it snatched the title.
American aircraft carrier “Gerald Ford”
Gerald Ford only sailed on her first mission five years after entering service in October 2022. She left the world’s largest naval base in Norfolk, Virginia, heading for the Pacific Ocean to conduct exercises with French, German and Swedish ships that simulate war against submarines. The most expensive warship in history, with a cost of around 13 billion dollars. It has been tested for a year and a half to withstand the shocks of any war operation. Equipped with anti-ship missile systems and combat systems. It works with two nuclear reactors and an electromagnetic aircraft launch system. Carrying 76 warplanes. It is approximately 333 meters long and has a displacement of 100,000 tonnes, with a speed of over 55 km/h. The US aircraft carrier fleet remains the largest and most powerful in the world. The supremacy of China, owner of the largest naval fleet in the world, seeks to challenge it with an aircraft carrier that has cost 9 billion dollars.
Aircraft carrier “Fujian”
The third largest aircraft carrier in the world. China launched it in June 2022 in the province that bears its name, Fujian, in the Jiangnan shipyard in Shanghai. Its design and size are similar to “Gerald Ford”. It is powered by conventional fuel and has 3 electromagnetic launchers. Capable of carrying 40 warplanes. Its length is 320 meters, its speed exceeds 30 knots, and its displacement exceeds 71 thousand tons. Away from the show-spending option, other nations eager to acquire aircraft carriers are adopting more rational and economical methods to bolster their naval fleets.
British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth
The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, based at Britain’s military naval base in Portsmouth, will launch in the Mediterranean this year in an attempt to show British military might against Russia, according to Western reports. He participated in military maneuvers in the North Sea with NATO ships. The largest ship in the British Air Force. It took 8 years to build, at a cost of $4.2 billion. Equipped to carry 36 fighters. Equipped with two elevators to lift planes in one minute. Its multitasking radars can monitor more than 1,000 targets in the sky and sea at a distance of over 40,000 km. It is 280 meters long and weighs 65,000 tons. France, in turn, did not stay out of the arms race with huge aircraft carriers.
French aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle”
Charles de Gaulle, the most important French aircraft carrier, is based in the port of Toulon, in the south-east of France, and runs on nuclear fuel. He sailed to Afghanistan on his first combat mission in 2001 to participate with coalition countries. It flew 770 sorties in support of anti-Taliban and anti-Al-Qaeda activities. In 2002, it supported American forces in Iraq and deployed a quarter of the French navy. Nine years later, in the Mediterranean, he participated in the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya. And in 2021, he arrives in the waters of the Gulf as part of a mission to fight against the Islamic State, and takes the lead of the international coalition, succeeding the United States. And in 2022, he was spotted in the Black Sea at the start of the war in Ukraine. And in 2023, he will conduct exercises with the Indian and US navies in the Indian Ocean. Charles de Gaulle, icon of the French Navy, the first French-built nuclear-powered surface ship. It is capable of carrying around forty fighter planes and helicopters. It can support 100 outputs per day. Equipped with a radar system to detect and track up to 2000 targets. However, France has announced its intention to replace it in 2038 with a new generation aircraft carrier equipped with electromagnetic take-off platforms. Its length is 261 meters, and its weight is about 37,000 tons. However, the scale of these carriers, not to mention their armament and power, may not protect them from the danger of precision and hypersonic weapons that countries are vying to develop. The “DF-26” missile, nicknamed the “killer aircraft carrier”, which China announced for the first time in 2020 the success of its experiment. It is capable of preventing aircraft carriers, which could be involved in a potential conflict with China, from operating freely near China’s coasts and crippling their ability to launch attacks, according to the American site “National Interest”. specializing in defense and strategic affairs. .
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