By Jeffrey Rodack – Re-Blogged From Newsmax
China, in an attempt to compete with U.S. naval strength in the Pacific, will add new nuclear aircraft carriers to its navy by 2035, the South China Morning Post is reporting.
At least four of China’s six aircraft battle groups will be nuclear-powered, according to the newspaper. The Post attributed its information to Chinese military experts.
The new carriers are expected to have the electromagnetic catapults known as EMALS. The system can launch more aircraft faster than the older diesel systems, the newspaper said.
“China’s nuclear-powered aircraft carriers with (EMALS-like systems) are expected to join the navy by 2035, bringing the total number of carriers to at least six – although only four will work at the front line,” Wang Yunfei, a naval expert and retired People’s Liberation Army naval officer, said.
“The country needs to keep developing until it is at the same level as the United States.”
China presently has one aircraft carrier in service and another still undergoing tests.
And Wang maintained the budget for the new carriers will remain unchanged, despite the economic downturn in China.
“Even if the economic downturn has an effect, we can adjust proportions in total military expenditure to make sure naval modernization keeps going,” he said. “For example, we can cut the number of new tanks.”
Strategy released by U.S. Intelligence agencies last month noted: “Chinese military modernization and continued pursuit of economic and territorial predominance in the Pacific region and beyond remain a concern…”