• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

"Chinese navy trains fighter pilots into aircraft carrier commanders"

The Bread Guy

Army.ca Relic
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
45
Points
630
This* from CHN military media ...
The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy is training jet fighter pilots to sail and command warships, a move that aims to create more capable commanding officers for aircraft carriers, according to military experts.

Experienced pilots from carrier-borne aircraft units and advanced fighter jet units started learning warship combat and command at an undisclosed naval academy in late November, the PLA Daily reported on Monday.

This is a whole new exploration by the navy to develop ship-aircraft command talent, as China's aircraft carrier force is in urgent need of such talent, the PLA Daily said, noting that the trainees were carefully selected, passing more than 10 tests including political thought, psychological quality and comprehensive abilities.

One such trainee is Xu Ying, chief of staff at an aircraft carrier-borne fighter jet base, who was among the first in the country to receive certification to operate a fighter jet on an aircraft carrier at both daytime and nighttime.

"During the training, I need to finish courses including ship navigation, basic combat, military training and management, strategic thinking and aircraft carrier combat," Xu said.

"I will gain the ability to command coordinated ship-aircraft operations by actually sailing warships and passing tests."

The training seeks to develop inter-disciplinary talent, as their experiences in both flying and sailing would work in synergy, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing military analyst, told the Global Times on Monday.

"I believe this is a move that aims to create top commanding officers for future aircraft carriers," Wei said, noting that this kind of talent would be practical in boosting the capability of carriers.

Many US aircraft carrier captains and officers at command posts used to be carrier-borne aircraft pilots, and this model is worth studying, Wei said.

Liu Zhe, captain of the Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier, said on China Central Television in August 2017 that only the US required aircraft carrier captains to be pilots first due to the massive scale of its aircraft carrier fleet.

Liu said he was only a surface vessel officer and no pilot. He said he learned to fly trainer aircraft and helicopters, but only for a few hours.

"When we have more aircraft carriers in the future and more carrier-based pilots, as they grow older, there will be pilots who become captains," Liu said.
* - links to archive.org saved version to keep you from clicking to a CHN gov't site
 

dimsum

Army.ca Fixture
Mentor
Reaction score
292
Points
880
Are most carrier COs around the world also naval aviators? 
 

SupersonicMax

Army.ca Veteran
Mentor
Reaction score
206
Points
680
By law, the commanding officer (CO) of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier must be either a naval aviator or a naval flight officer in the rank of captain. The carrier's executive officer (XO) will also hold identical rank and aeronautical qualifications.
 

dimsum

Army.ca Fixture
Mentor
Reaction score
292
Points
880
SupersonicMax said:
By law, the commanding officer (CO) of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier must be either a naval aviator or a naval flight officer in the rank of captain. The carrier's executive officer (XO) will also hold identical rank and aeronautical qualifications.

Interesting.  Do they're essentially dual-qualed (flying and sailing)? 
 

SupersonicMax

Army.ca Veteran
Mentor
Reaction score
206
Points
680
They are not formally qualified in sailing.  They go from Carrier Air Group Squadron CO to Nuclear Power School for 6 months to XO of a Carrier to CO of a large ship to commanding a Carrier.  At that level, your focus should be less on sailing and more on providing effects, knowing you have a full crew dedicated to sailing.
 

Baz

Sr. Member
Donor
Reaction score
0
Points
0
SupersonicMax said:
They are not formally qualified in sailing.  They go from Carrier Air Group Squadron CO to Nuclear Power School for 6 months to XO of a Carrier to CO of a large ship to commanding a Carrier.  At that level, your focus should be less on sailing and more on providing effects, knowing you have a full crew dedicated to sailing.

Large ship is normally an auxiliary,  like an oiler.  They are still fully responsible for the handling and safety of the vessel.
 

SupersonicMax

Army.ca Veteran
Mentor
Reaction score
206
Points
680
Baz said:
Large ship is normally an auxiliary,  like an oiler.  They are still fully responsible for the handling and safety of the vessel.

Sure.  Just like any CO is fully responsible for the handling and safety of it unit.  He doesn’t have to be an expert in its every respect though.  I still think (and I also think the Navy thinks the same way, given their path to Ship/Boat command) that sailing and a mean to an end and the ultimate responsibility of the CO is the end. 
 

Baz

Sr. Member
Donor
Reaction score
0
Points
0
SupersonicMax said:
Sure.  Just like any CO is fully responsible for the handling and safety of it unit.  He doesn’t have to be an expert in its every respect though.  I still think (and I also think the Navy thinks the same way, given their path to Ship/Boat command) that sailing and a mean to an end and the ultimate responsibility of the CO is the end.

They do a ship handling course in addition to nuc school.  The CO of a carrier is more concerned with safely getting the boat to the right place and providing the "airport" services to the Admiral.  The air group does not belong to the CO, it belongs to the CAG.  The CAG works directly for the Admiral to provide effects.  The DESRON Comd has the escorts.

The USS McCain and USS Fitzgerald are both examples of what can happen when the CO of a ship does not fully control the handling of their ship.

Edited to add: the Admiral, who is the one actually responsible for delivering effects (which is not just the air group, all those Tomahawks are pretty useful as well, and they might be operating with an amphibious ESG) does not have to be an aviator.
 

Baz

Sr. Member
Donor
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Dimsum said:
Are most carrier COs around the world also naval aviators?

HMS QE is illustrative that not necessarily so.

The first CO was a surface warfare officer with a bunch of ship commands including two aircraft carriers prior to QE.  He never trained as an aviator.

The last two were both observers (ie RN "ACSO").  Neither had Sqn Comd.  The both then become Principal Warfare Officers (like RCN OROs) and then had various ship commands prior to QE.
 

Baz

Sr. Member
Donor
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Here's a good article by a USN Retired Admiral who has had command at squadron, deep draft, carrier, and task group levels.

What Is It Like To be The Commanding Officer Of An Aircraft Carrier
https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2012/03/07/what-is-it-like-to-be-the-commanding-officer-of-an-aircraft-carrier/#383bb9f41e8c

The ship’s captain is responsible for the condition and safety of the ship and for providing most of the material, facilities and services required to prepare the aircraft and pilots for those missions.

During flight operations the captain can normally be found on the bridge directly involved in the mechanics of positioning and preparing the ship for launch and recovery of aircraft, ensuring the safe navigation of the ship and overseeing flight deck operations.

Early morning underway replenishments alongside a fleet oiler, navigation of straits or other areas that restrict the carrier’s ability to maneuver and entering or leaving ports are all frequently occurring evolutions requiring the captain’s presence on the bridge.
 

Blackadder1916

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
194
Points
680
Dimsum said:
Are most carrier COs around the world also naval aviators?

Since most carriers around the world (less the USN) are unique assets (or maybe at the most one of a pair) in their respective navies, the command of such a war vessel (often termed the flagship of that particular fleet) would naturally be a coveted rung on the command afloat ladder so it is unlikely that it would be reserved exclusively for aviators.  The USN is a beast of such a different colour that it may be hard for those from more "boutique" navies to comprehend that a naval officer could have a long productive career almost exclusively within his own "fighting" specialty (surface, subs, aviation) and still meet all the same comparable "check the boxes" needed for flag rank.

And then historically, probably the most celebrated "carrier admiral" of all time, William Halsey, didn't become an aviator until 30 years (at age 52) after he graduated from Annapolis.  It was one of the requirements he had to meet before he took command of the carrier Saratoga, though he had commanded several surface vessels previously.

Though it's been near half a century since Canada last had a carrier in the fleet, our practice then was likely the same as most small navies.  Sometimes the single carrier was commanded by a water-bound sailor and other times by a sailor who had previously taken to the sky.  They all would have been qualified to drive the ship (if need be), but likely the decision to give them command of the carrier was they had been judged to be excellent naval officers who knew how to employ their resources, whether those resources were bolted to a deck or launched into the air.  For most, command of the Bonnie was an expected next step as they moved on to flag rank.

The COs of our last carrier, HMCS Bonaventure, were the following, according to http://www.forposterityssake.ca/Navy/HMCS_BONAVENTURE_CVL22.htm .

Capt. Harold Victor William Groos, RCN - 17 Jan 1957 - 14 Jan 1958  (ret'd as Commodore 1965)

Capt. William Moss Landymore, OBE, RCN - 15 Jan 1958 - 11 Sep 1959  (yes that Landymore,  a brief stint as the first Commander of Maritime Command in 1966 before being "encouraged" to retire as a RAdm)

Capt. J.C. O'Brien, RCN - 12 Sep 1959 - 29 Aug 1961  (Commander Maritime Command 1966-70, ret'd as VAdm 1973)

Capt. Frederick Charsley Frewer, RCN - 30 Aug 1961 - 06 Aug 1963 (ret'd as Capt 1969 - and for a pop culture reference is the father of "Max Headroom" actor)

Capt. Robert Walker Timbrell, DSC, RCN - 07 Aug 1963 - 01 Apr 1965  (Commander Maritime Command 1971-73,  ret'd as RAdm in 1974)

Capt. Henry Allan Porter, RCN - 02 Apr 1965 - 31 July 1966  (joined RCN as Lower Decker, Commissioned and served in surface ships during war, trained as pilot after war, had other non-flying staff and command tours, Commander Maritime Command 1970-71. ret'd as VAdm 1974)

Cdr. A.T. Bice, RCN - 01 Aug 1966 - 20 Nov 1966  (trained as pilot in RCAF during WW2, transferred to RN/RCN, mostly aviation related duties, in  Bonnie as Lieutenant-Commander (Flying) 1959, warded Watchkeeping Certificate 1961, back in Bonnie as Commander (Air) 1965, Executive Officer 1966 (for last refit), In command 1966, reverted back to XO when Falls took command.  Ret'd as Cdr in 1974)
Total Flying Hours: 2815.5 hours. Total Fixed Wing Deck landings: 97. Service Aircraft Flown: Cornell, Crane, Anson, Seafire, Firefly, Sea Fury, Harvard, Avenger, Tracker, Ventura, Oxford, Master, Sea Hornet, Vampire, Tiger Moth, Expeditor

Capt. R.H. Falls, RCN - 21 Nov 1966 - 08 Apr 1969  ( Trained as pilot in RCAF during WW2, transferred to RCN, significant navy flying experience as well as command of surface vessels, was later DCDS, VCDS and then CDS from 1977-80)
Total Flying Hours: 3,350 hours. Total Fixed Wing Deck Landings: 288 (including 20 night.) Service Aircraft Flown: Tiger Moth, Cornell, Harvard, Cessna Crane, Seafire Mk 3 & 15, Expeditor, Anson, Firefly, Swordfish, Sea Hornet, Sea Vampire, Sea Fury, Hellcat, Bearcat, AD-3, TBM, Avenger, F3D, F2H3 Banshee, F3H2 Demon)

Capt. James Mortimer Cutts - 09 Apr 1969 - 08 Jan 1970    (ret'd as Commodore 1980)

Cdr. Henry William (Hank) Vondette - 09 Jan 1970 - 01 Jul 1970  (Lower Decker, joined and served during war as signalman rising to CPO, commissioned in 1948, Bonnie's Executive Officer 1969 and in command 1970.  Ret'd as Capt)

Of ten Bonaventure's commanding officers, seven reached flag rank, four of then becoming the Commander of Canada's Navy and one of them becoming the Chief of Defence Staff.

And to focus a little more on Admiral Falls, his 2009 obituary in the Globe and Mail makes interesting reading.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/admiral-falls-trained-for-war-acted-for-peace/article4295210/
 
Top