Carrying Power Projection: Aircraft Carrier Development in the Asia-Pacific
- Santiago Juditho Emmanuel Castillo
Photo Source: National Interest
There is a growing trend among the regional powers in the Indo-Pacific on the development of aircraft carriers. This may be the result of the maritime territorial disputes in the East and South China Sea, as well as the growing geostrategic shifts manifested by China’s rise. China recently activated its first operational aircraft carrier the Liaoning in 2016. At the same time, it is also developing more carriers to bolster its fleet, challenge US power in the Indo-Pacific, and establish stronger maritime control in the region. In effect, a handful of key regional powers have also started to develop their own aircraft carriers despite certain limitations. In effect, other regional powers also began their own aircraft carrier development projects and would lead to the possibility of a low-level naval and air arms race. While the deployment of aircraft carriers is not as numerous in the region compared to other effective naval platforms such as attack submarines, the mere operational deployment of a single aircraft carrier can be a powerful strategic force multiplier to any country that effectively commands one.