The USS Ronald Regan VS Chinese Liaoning

As per the statements from governments in the region and satellite imagery, China has sent an aircraft carrier battle group to the east and South China Seas. The maneuvers come at a time of increasing tension in the South China Sea and a denouncement of China’s recent sinking of a Vietnamese fishing vessel by members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. China’s naval exercise with the Liaoning aircraft carrier was first reported by Japan’s military. The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force said they was accompanied by a battle group of two destroyers, two frigates, and a support vessel passed through the Miyako Strait, between Okinawa and the Miyako Islands. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said the Liaoning battle group was observed moving off the island of Taiwan’s eastern coast down to its southern coast.

A Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy spokesperson later confirmed the Liaoning and its battle group was engaged in a naval exercise at the Miyako Strait, the Bashi Channel south of Taiwan, and in the South China Sea. But in the vicinity - Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, U.S has the USS Ronald Reagan supercarrier. In this video, Defense Updates analyzes why china deploying Liaoning aircraft carrier off the coast of Taiwan is useless as it faces USS Ronald Reagan? So, let us get started. Liaoning is actually built from the Soviet-eraKuznetsov-class carrier hull. The Kuznetsov-class aircraft carriers were the last class of aircraft carriers designed for the Soviet Navy. Two hulls were laid down in the Ukrainian before the Soviet Union collapsed. Kuznetsov serves today in the Russian Navy. The other hulk was purchased in 1998 by the people's Republic of China and towed to Dalian shipyard in northeast China. After being completely rebuilt and undergoing sea trials, the ship was commissioned into the People's Liberation Army Navy. It has a displacement of around 60,000 tonnes and is conventionally powered. USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is the 9th Nimitz-class aircraft supercarrier.

The Nimitz-class aircraft carriers were designed to be improvements on previous U.S. aircraft carriers, in particular the Enterprise and Forrestal-class. All ten Nimitz-class aircraft carriers were constructed between 1968 and 2006 at Newport News Shipbuilding Company, Virginia, in the largest dry-dock in the western hemisphere. It has a displacement of 100,000 tonnes and is nuclear powered. Being much larger USS Ronald Reagan can carry more than 80 aircraft whereas Liaoning can accommodate only about 40 aircraft. It can be easily inferred that Nimitz has a distinct advantage over the Liaoning. Liaoning carries Shenyang J-15. The Shenyang J-15 also known as Flying Sharkis a 4th generation, twin-jet, all-weather, carrier-based fighter aircraft developed by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation and the 601 Institute for the Chinese People's LiberationArmy Navy's aircraft carriers. J-15 which is basically an unethical copy of the Russian Su-33 uses indigenous Shenyang Liming WS-10H engines which are underpowered. It is thought to have a low maximum of launchweight. With this weight limitation, a J-15 carrier fighter cannot carry a full load of fuel and weapons. So, it neither has a good range or an effective weapons package.

China’s own media has come down heavily on it. Beijing-based Sina Military Network (SMN)criticized the capabilities of the J-15 as nothing more than a "flopping fish" incapable of flying from the Liaoning with heavy weapons, “effectively crippling its attack range and firepower. USS Ronald Reagan's strike fighters are primarilyF/A18 Hornets and F/A 18 Super Hornets. These are twin-engine carrier-capable 4thgeneration multirole fighter aircraft. They have a payload of 7700 kg or 17000 lbs which can be used to carry ground attack weapons as well as air-to-air missiles. The versatility of the aircraft can be gauged from the fact that on the first day of Operation Desert Storm, two F 18, each carrying four2,000 lb. bombs shot down 2 Iraqi Migs and then proceeded to deliver their bombs on target. Liaoning uses ski ramp to assist aircraft takeoffs.

The U.S. Navy uses a more efficient steam-powered catapult system to launch aircraft. Ski-jump aircraft carriers have limitations, regarding how much ordnance can be loaded. The weight restriction issue is caused by a minimum airspeed requirement for a flight from an aircraft carrier. Ski-jump aircraft carriers generate their airspeed from the run-up distance on the deck of the aircraft carrier and an assist from the ski-jump. Catapult aircraft carriers use a steam piston system that accelerates a shuttle attached to the aircraft to produce a much higher-end speed. Because the weight of the aircraft impacts the end speed, the higher the weight of the aircraft the less end speed can be generated. For example, the J-15, when launched from the Liaoning, can only carry 4000 pounds of ordnance before it reaches its minimum airspeed requirement, conversely, the F 18 Super Hornet can carry over 12000 pounds of ordnance on a catapult aircraft carrier. The large differences between the two aircraft carriers will certainly have impacts on tactical considerations for mission planning and sortie generation rates. So, USS Ronald Reagan is well ahead of when it comes to the quality of the aircraft and how there are operated from the carrier.

Apart from the strike package USS Ronald Reagan has E-2C Hawkeye & EA-18G Growler. Northrop Grumman’s E-2C Hawkeye is a carrier-capable AWACS aircraft. It is designed to give long-range warning of incoming aerial threats. Secondary roles include command and control, land and maritime surveillance, as well as a communication relay. It has a 360-degree long-range radar that is effective over open seas, shorelines, and land. These provide excellent situational awareness to the USS Ronald Reagan supercarrier. The EA-18G Growler is an airborne electronic attack (AEA) aircraft. The Growler is a derivative of the combat-proven two-seat F/A-18 Hornet, the US Navy’s maritime strike aircraft. The aircraft's missions are mainly electronic attack (EA) and Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD), particularly at the start and on-going early stages of hostilities. The Growler is equipped with the APG-79 multi-mode radar with passive detection mode and active radar suppression. The radar is capable of jamming enemy radars by flooding it with its own radar signals. Liaoning doesn’t have these kinds of specialized aircraft which is a vital deficiency. China’s muscle-flexing at a time when itis being held responsible for the current world crisis is brazen to say that least. Time and again it has shown utter disregard to international laws and norms and threatens its neighbors.

Liaoning is an impressive first attempt byChina. But as evident from the comparison, the USS Ronald Reagan Nimitz class is far ahead of Liaoning in terms of inbuilt technology as well as the overall ecosystem. In a confrontation, Liaoning will find it very hard to hold on against the much more well equipped USS Ronald Reagan supercarrier. American fighters assisted by excellent supporting aircraft will quickly overwhelm the Liaoning. The fight may not even last an hour as the USS Ronald Reagan will gain air dominance quickly. So, tactically speaking deploying Liaoningwill not be much use if a conflict breaks out and it has to confront USS Ronald Reagan.