Skip to comments.Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag towed to Dalian Shipyard in North Eastern China
Posted on 03/02/2002 6:30:15 PM PST by Bob Evans
Varyag was to be a Kuznetsov-class multirole aircraft carrier. She was known as Riga when her keel was laid down atNikolayev South (formerly Shipyard 444) on December 6, 1985, and she was launched on December 4, 1988, but she was renamed Varyag ("viking") in late 1990.
Construction stopped by 1992 with the ship structurally complete but without electronics. Ownership was transferred to the Ukraine as the Soviet Union broke up and the ship was laid up unmaintained, then stripped. In early 1998, she lacked engines, a rudder, and much of her operating systems. She was put up for auction.
In April, Ukrainian Trade Minister Roman Shprek announced the winning bid -- US$20 million from a small Hong Kong company called theChong Lot Travel Agency Ltd. Chong Lot proposed to tow Varyag out of the Black Sea, through the Suez Canal and around southern Asia to Macao, where they would moor the ship and convert it into a floating hotel and gambling parlor.
However, considerable evidence suggested that the future of Varyag is linked to the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and its program to develop a Chinese aircraft carrier.
Before the auction was closed, officials in Macao had warned Chong Lot that they would not be permitted to park Varyag in the harbor. The sale was carried out anyway. Chong Lot is owned by a Hong Kong firm called Chin Luck (Holdings) Company. Four of Chin Luck's six board members live inYantai, China where a major Chinese Navy shipyard is located. Chin Luck's chairman is a former career military officer with the People's Liberation Army. (It is not unusual in China for a company that actually is involved in tourism or travel to be controlled by former PLA officers.)
However, China's interest is puzzling. Due to the poor condition of the hulk, it is thought highly unlikely that the PLAN will commission the carrier; rather, many analysts suggest that the PLAN intends to examine the carrier as a model for an indigenous carrier to be built later. Others counter that the carrier does not represent modern technology; the PLAN could probably have learned all they needed from Varyag without towing it all the way to China.
Whatever plans have been made, in mid-2000, a Dutch tug with a Filipino crew was hired to take Varyag under tow. However, Chong Lot could not get permission from Turkey to transit the dangerous Bosporus strait -- in addition to safety issues, the Montreux Treaty of 1936 does not allow aircraft carriers to pass the Dardanelles -- and the hulk spent 16 months circling in the Black Sea. High-level Chinese government ministers conducted negotiations in Ankara on Chong Lot's behalf, offering to allow Chinese tourists to visit cash-strapped Turkey if the travel agency's ship were allowed to pass through the straits. On November 1, 2001, Turkey finally relented from its position that the vessel posed too great of a danger to the bridges of Istanbul, and allowed the transit.
Escorted by 27 vessels including 11 tug boats and three pilot boats, Varyag took six hours to transit the strait; most large ships take an hour and a half. The Russian press reported that 16 pilots and 250 seamen were involved. At 11:45am on November 2, she completed her passage and made for Gallipoli and Çanakkale at 5.8 knots. She passed through the Dardanelles without incident.
On November 3, Varyag was caught in a force 9 gale and broke adrift while passing the Aegean island of Skyros. Turkish and Greek sea rescue workers tried to re-capture the hulk, which was drifting toward the island of Evia. The seven-member crew (three Russians, three Ukrainians and one Filipino) remained on board as six tugboats tried to reestablish their tow. However, after many failed attempts to reattach the lines, a Greek coast guard rescue helicopter landed on Varyag and picked up four of the seven crew. One tug managed to make a line fast to the ship later in the day, but high winds severely hampered efforts by two other tugs to secure the ship. On November 6, Aries Lima (reported as both Dutch and Portuguese), a sailor from the tug Haliva Champion, died after a fall while attempting to reattach the tow ropes. On November 7, the hulk was taken back under tow and progress toward the Suez Canal resumed at some three knots.
The Chinese Foreign Minister announced plans to visit Egypt in late December 2001.
The aircraft carrier sailed into Chinese waters on February 20 2002, and is being towed to Dalian Shipyard in Northeastern China.
It looks like whatever the Chinese couldn't steal from us (or aquire as "gifts" from x42 and company), they can buy from what used to be the Soviet Union.
I wouldn't worry about the Chicom developing catapults ... on the other hand if your local Wal-Mart runs out of bungee cord ... then, I might worry.
Can they tow it fast enough to launch planes?
They bought it under the pretense of turning it into a so called floating casino, but instead have given it a refit. It will be an aircraft carrier, within 2 years. It will be an attack grade carrier as well. All thanks to the Russians and the Clinton Administration.
information at some point is not accurate,one or two carriers?
minsk was operational in the pacific,the other one never finish,so how many the chicoms got?
In 10 years they will be able to nuke any city in the U.S. I mean, with them having that kind of capability, how many carriers would they really need to become an even more serious national security threat?
Why are you writing about a subject you clearly don't have the foggiest understanding of?
I'd love to see your "articles"...would be good for a laugh. The Varyag is BEYOND a complete hulk. Operating an aircraft carrier is unbelievably complex and it isn't a simple matter of slapping some planes and equipment on the Varyag.
I'll bet you $1000 the Varyag is never in operational service as an Aircraft Carrier with the PLAN...willing to take that bet?
Ten years, absolute minimum, before the PLAN has anything resembling an operational aircraft carrier for fixed wing aircraft.
Look, NOBODY likes Clinton, and nobody likes the tech transfer. But the entire PRC military, to put it plainly, sucks, and will suck for some time.
But because they're obsessed with making Clinton even worse, people feel compelled to fabricate junk about the PRC military being better and scarier than it is.
disguise it as a 'nafta truck'; n smuggle the "whole world" into the u.s.
Common myth that Soviet stuff was simpler than US stuff, but more reliable and rugged. Applies to small arms but not major weapons systems. Their Naval vessels, and aircraft were FAR more unreliable, and fragile than ours; their tanks had incredibly unreliable, and complicated autoloaders that often tore the arms off crew members.
Much of it NEVER worked. At all. The machinery of the Kuznetsov and Kiev classes (Varyag is Kuznetsov, Minsk is Kiev class) was unreliable...of course, Varyag has never HAD any machinery. And the search radar of the Kuznetsov class was a COMPLETE failure; never worked at all.
Considering they already have a Soviet Carrier, the Minsk, that is a floating museum/entertainment complex, why was it absurd on its face?
Regarding any articles I wrote, I posted them here to Free Republic. I also used to have a website that had a lot of the stuff I'd rant about on there as well. Do me the favor of looking for what the Clinton Administration sold to the Chinese. Then start looking at what those items are used for, and then think about how they would be used for getting an Aircraft carrier operational. The little snippet of that list I wrote is just a tiny part of all the stuff they've acquired over the years during the Clinton years.
If you're thinking that what I wrote is laughable, think again. In 1996, John Deere Co, gave, literally gave the Chinese government tractors, and farm equipment and now the Chinese can out produce our country in grain, and produce. John Deere and Co, got a new office and new plant in China. Imagine the Chinese having the ability to field a battleship, or an aircraft carrier with that kind of zeal behind them, as they've managed with farming. It can and eventually will happen. I'm not making any bets, but I can see on the horizon a conflict with the Chinese a brewing, and we can thank Bill Clinton for a lot of this.
I'm not Clinton bashing at all either, I'm stating a fact. The Chinese bought influence in our government, and they got what they paid for.
What the Chinese can learn from these sorry decrepit hulks is how NOT to design an aircraft carrier. Anyone who thinks these ships can be refurbished and put back into service clearly doesn't have the foggiest idea of what they are talking about..would be faster and cheaper to build a completely new ship.
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