China is finally ready to debut its first aircraft carrier, the Shi Lang. But the world shouldn’t exactly be shivering its timbers in fear of this display of military might, writes David Axe of Wired, dubbing the ship “a piece of junk.” The ship’s Ukranian-built engines are unlikely to be very reliable—Russia’s Kuznetsov has had loads of problems with its own Ukranian turbines—and the thing doesn’t come close to matching a US carrier’s capabilities.
The US has a mighty fleet of supercarriers, each armed with 70 planes and accompanied by an entourage of destroyers, cruisers, and at least one nuclear submarine. China’s lone carrier can’t come close on any of those fronts. So in a Pacific heavily patrolled by the US and its allies, the Shi Lang will mostly serve to look impressive. “I think the change in perception by the region will be significant,” Adm. Robert Willard told Congress recently, but he’s “not concerned” about its military impact. (Read more aircraft carrier stories.)