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PacNet #72 – An Aircraft Carrier’s Relevance to China’s A2/AD Strategy

The acquisition of an aircraft carrier is the foundation and ultimate symbol of a navy’s blue-water strategy. There is no more important reality for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) as it starts operating its first carrier. The full ramifications of the PLAN’s ambitious acquisition of naval air power are as yet uncertain. The ultimate outcome depends upon maintaining a balance between a variety of contradictory postures and strategies.