The cover of this week's Flight International is not of an
aircraft, but of a ship, the Nimitz class carrier USS Harry Truman. Naturally
there are plenty of aircraft visible: F-18s, E-2Cs, and the odd EA-6B.
The issue marks a century of naval aviation, for which my colleague Stephen Trimble wrote two features about the history of the carrier, arguably the most important warship type of the twentieth century.
Though much is made of China's supposed 'carrier-killer'
programmes - the DF-21 anti-ship ballistic missile, the J-20 (is it designed to
lob missiles at American carriers?), and its attack submarines - the PLAN seems
to be making good headway with the Shi Lang, formerly the Russian aircraft
In this morning's troll through the region's defence sites I came across some recent shots of the ship. Most of the scaffolding around the island is gone, the ship boasts a fresh coat of paint, and various antennas (some covered in plastic) have been mounted. The deck crawls with workers.
Sadly there have been no appearances of the J-15 (
Few pundits doubt China's ambitions in regard to aircraft carriers. Over the last 100 years the triumphs and tribulations of naval aviation in the west have been of great interest to our readers. Naval aviation developments in the east are bound to be equally captivating over the next century.