The launch of China’s first aircraft carrier has been marred by accusations that it has pirated much of technology used in the ship, with Russia in particular said to be livid at the shameless copying of its aircraft designs.
The carrier itself, just launched by China in order to complete sea trials, was originally a Soviet-built aircraft carrier sold to China by the Ukraine in 1998, known as the Varyag and not yet formally renamed by China.
According to naval experts, the ship is little more than a hodgepodge of technologies pirated from foreign “partners” in much the same way as China obtained its high speed rail system, bolted onto the mouldering Ukrainian hulk purchased in 1998.
Its radar system is said to be a “clear copy” of the Russian Fregat radar system, its close-in weapon system is, according to Chinese media, “based on a Dutch design,” one of its missile systems “closely resembles” a US-German design, whilst its optical landing system is said to be very similar to systems used on US carriers.
Most controversially, the Shenyang J-15 planes intended for use on the carrier are illegal copies of Russian Sukhoi Su-33s, a fact which has incensed Russia, particularly after China began hawking its clones to the very nations Russia has been attempting to sell the originals to.
However, nations whom China is intent on menacing with its new fleet probably need not be too worried just yet – one expert wryly comments that “as with their high speed rail system, they’ve just made rushed copies of a bunch of foreign technology, so there is the possibility of all kinds of future trouble.”