It takes a lot of time and huge effort to generate a carrier capability, especially so when you have had no previous experience like the Chinese.It's interesting that both India and China seem to keep their Russian made carriers running to some level. After serious rework, mind you.
This is the timetable for the RN QE class and it’s F-35B airgroup which has been adhered to pretty closely. Note that despite QE entering service at the end of 2017, she only achieved Initial Operating Capability Carrier Strike at the end of 2020 and that Full Operating Capability Carrier Strike for both ships is not scheduled until the end of 2023.
Infographic: Timeline for delivering the Royal Navy's queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers
Over in the US, CVN-78 Gerald R Ford commissioned in July 2017 and has suffered tremendous problems with the new technology it incorporates. She is only due to make her first operational deployment later this year. By way of comparison, CVN-77 George HW Bush still took over 2 years from commissioning to making its first operational deployment. That was with an existing carrier design and loads of experience.
The Chinese Liaoning (Ex Ukrainian, ex Russian, ex Soviet Varyag etc) was a rusting shell when the Chinese acquired her by various back door dealings in the late 1990s. The result was it took until 2012 before she completed and that was with Russian help. So virtually a new ship, at least internally.
The first domestically produced Chinese carrier is the Shandong, commissioned at the end of 2019. She represents an improvement over the Liaoning.
At the end of last year the Chinese deployed a carrier, Liaoning, beyond the so called “first island barrier” into the Pacific (something she first did back in 2016). At the same time the Shandong strike group exercised in the East China Sea. The Liaoning repeated the exercise in May 2022.
China’s Liaoning Carrier Strike Group is now operating in the East China Sea after conducting drills in the Pacific Ocean and the Philippine Sea for more than two weeks, the Japan Ministry of Defense said over the weekend. The majority of the group transited the Miyako Strait on Saturday, the...
Meanwhile the next Chinese carrier, Type 003 of c85,000 tons, was due to be launched last week, while an even larger c100,000 ton vessel is being planned.
Meanwhile in India, which has over 60 years of operating both conventional and STOVL carriers, the Vikramaditya (ex Russian Admiral Gorshkov, ex Soviet Baku) seems to make regular deployments around the Indian Ocean. They have the c45,000 ton Vikrant running trials and due to commission later this year and the c65,000 ton Vishal is currently at the design stage.
Problem is we never hear much about the Indian Navy while everyone feels threatened by China and the PLAN so they are regularly in the news.