Richard Broinowski writes:

Thank you Sam Roggeveen for giving us a look at some new Chinese military hardware, much of it purloined from other countries.

The shot of Liaoning steaming along with some powerful escorts looks impressive. But it has a serious shortcoming – no steam catapult. As a consequence, it’s aircraft must keep their weight down to labour into the air with the aid of a ski jump at the end of the runway. The J-15 has a new extra fuel tank, but this adds to its weight and reduces its weapons load. If, like American carriers, Liaoning had a catapult, its aircraft could take off with more fuel and more ordnance.

And let’s be realistic. The last time I looked, the US Seventh Fleet had at least three carrier groups based at Sasebo and others available if needed. All have steam catapults and many more potent aircraft than Liaoning. No one should get too excited about Chinese regional naval dominance in the western Pacific any time soon.