Well that is the point, isn't it? Hendrick makes it sound so easy for China to convert from civilian to nuclear reactors that it would seem to be some kind of absolute shocker that carrier #3 isn't going to have a nuclear reactor in it. Time will tell, but if China has nuclear carrier ambitions, then the lack of one on CV-18 will easily constitute strong evidence against the ease of converting from civilian to nuclear.I think they're talking about Type 003, not carrier #3.
Predicting a batch of 4-8 hulls is dramatically different from predicting 4 being simultaneously constructed; they're not "approximately" close to each other in terms of pace. Even the US hasn't constructed more than 3 Burke hulls at a time, and the 055 is supposedly 2,000 tons larger. So you didn't really get anywhere near the target if you predicted that 4-8 055s are "in the first batch". So while you may take some stabs at the pace of PLAN's carrier ambitions and then fool yourself into think you know exactly or even just "approximately" what the PLAN has up its sleeve, in the end you're just totally guessing. Just like everybody else.Maybe people didn't predict 4 under construction simultaneously, but many did predict a first batch of hulls might be somewhere between 4-8. Many also predicted years in advance that the PLAN might procure something along the lines of the Type 055. AndrewS is saying we can get an approximate idea of what the PLAN might be thinking. It would be a distortion to take what he said to mean that we can make confidently precise predictions about everything.