How Russia and China Could Respond to Pentagon's Newest Supercarrier

Russia and China are likely to invest in developing air defense systems in response to Washington's military buildup, political analyst Alexei Fenenko asserted, commenting on the USS Gerald R. Ford, one of the most advanced and expensive weapons systems in the Pentagon's arsenal.

"How can Russia and China respond? By simply doing what they have been doing – by developing regional air defense systems so that they could show Americans that 'we would shoot down your warplanes launched from the aircraft carrier and deal damage to you' when necessary," he said.

Fenenko, an associate professor at Moscow State University's World Politics Department, added that the addition of the USS Gerald R. Ford to the US naval fleet would not alter the balance of power in the Asia Pacific region.

The pre-commissioned USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier is seen after a visit by US President Donald Trump in Newport News, Virginia - Sputnik International
USS Gerald R. Ford: The Latest Addition to Pentagon's Aircraft Carrier Fleet
"Firstly, this will have no impact on the balance of power. The United States has absolute superiority when it comes to naval forces. Essentially, only one country in the world has a comprehensive blue-water navy. It is the US. In this sense, the balance of power has not changed at all," he said.

Fenenko added that China has long wanted to develop a maritime force capable of operating globally, but Beijing cannot reach this goal due to Taiwan.

"It is impossible to create a comprehensive blue-water navy without making Taiwan a part of China. Taiwan has prevented China's large subsurface ships from moving beyond the coastline," the analyst explained.

The USS Gerald R. Ford, manufactured by Newport News Shipbuilding, is the lead ship of her class intended to replace the Nimitz-class supercarriers. The nuclear-powered vessel has a displacement of approximately 100,000 tons. It is capable of carrying more than 75 aircraft due to an expanded flight deck. The ship will be armed with RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow and RIM-116 Rolling Airframe missiles produced by Raytheon.

USS Gerald Ford - Sputnik International
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The ship employs two innovative solutions, comprising the General Atomics-built Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) and the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). The latter has replaced traditional steam catapults.

The US Navy is expected to place the USS Gerald R. Ford into active service this summer, but the $12.8 billion supercarrier would become fully operational in 2020.

Russian military analyst Vladimir Evseev, the head of the Department of Eurasian Integration and Development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the Institute of CIS countries, pointed out that China is catching up with the US when it comes to ships intended for continuous service.

"China is likely to respond to [Washington building aircraft carriers] by manufacturing its own vessels," he added.

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