Naval Power: China Building Second Aircraft Carrier

14:27 31.12.2015

China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is anchored in the northern port in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013

The Chinese Defense Ministry officially announced that work on the construction of a second aircraft carrier has begun in the port of Dalian.

Earlier, media continuously reported that China was building a second aircraft carrier, but without official confirmation from authorities.

“Everyone knows that the first aircraft carrier, which is at the disposal of the Chinese Navy, is the (aircraft carrier) Liaoning. Relevant departments have considered the subject from all angles and then embarked on the development work of the second carrier. At the moment further design and construction of the aircraft carrier is underway,”

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in an official statement.

According to him, China adheres to an independent foreign policy of peace and a defensive military strategy.

“We have a long coastline and vast water area located in our jurisdiction. The guarantee of their safety, the protection of sovereignty, territorial waters and the legitimate interests of the country’s seas and oceans is the sacred duty of the armed forces of the China,” he added.

The design draws on experiences from the country’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which was bought from Ukraine in 1998. It was an unfinished Soviet cruiser Varyag and it was refitted in China.

The ship was named after the province of Liaoning where the docks of the Dalian port were located.

The first sea trials of the Liaoning took place in August 2011, in November 2012 it was announced that a J-15 fighter successfully landed on the deck of the ship.

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China’s first Aircraft carrier – Liaoning

The Liaoning was built using the hull of a Soviet Kuznetsov-class carrier, the Varyag, with a displacement of 65,000 tonnes, which China acquired from Ukraine in 2002. It is a conventionally powered carrier

China’s First Homemade Carrier Moves Forward

Chinese military watchers everywhere have another clear sign that China is building its first indigenous aircraft carrier, the Type 001A “17”

The Type 001A aircraft carrier, “17”, is projected to feature incremental improvements over the original Liaoning, such as a redesigned island superstructure, as well as newer radar, increased automation and greater storage space (some fan art like this CGI, show it with waist catapults to launch heavier aircraft).

Aircraft carrier number “17” is likely to be 65,000 to 70,000 tons in displacement, have forward located ski-jump to launch figthers, and carry about 36-48 aircraft, a combination of J-15 Flying Shark fighters and Z-8/Z-18 helicopters. That’s similar in size to “16” Liaoning, China’s Soviet designed and built aircraft carrier or newer programs like Britain’s HMS Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier presently under construction. “17” will feature automation to reduce crew size, increased fuel and ammunition storage, and a smaller island superstructure, making it far more capable than the Liaoning.

China Aircraft Carrier Type 001A WuhanEven the land based carrier test mockup in Wuhan is getting a make over for “17”, with modifications to install new radars and communications gear.

If all goes to plan, “17” will be launched in the second half of 2016. At this stage, it would receive its name, most likely the name of a Chinese province or national level municipality. It would likely to be commissioned in 2019, thus doubling China’s aircraft carrier capacity for theaters from the First Island Chain all the away to Africa and Latin America. As the PLAN gains more naval aviation experience from the Liaoning and “17”, its fleet will then move on to more capable future aircraft carriers, like the planned catapult-equipped Type 002 and nuclear power Type 003. Source: Popular Science


Note: Other sources indicate that it would be around 80,000 tons in displacement. 

Japan’s Asahi Shimbun says that China is building two homegrown aircraft carriers of 80,000-ton displacement each. China has obtained from Russia the design drawings of Russia’s Ulyanovsk nuclear aircraft carrier and the technology of its nuclear power system. As a result, China’s new aircraft carriers will be nuclear powered.

The Ulyanovsk is the first nuclear aircraft carrier that former Soviet Union was building, but it was dismantled due to lack of funds when the Societ Union disintegrated. It has a displacement of 78,000 tons and can carry at least 60 fix-wing fighters and helicopters. What is worth special notice is that it was to use steam catapult according to its design.

The PLA has shown great interest in VTOL fighter jets and may use such fighters on its aircraft carriers.

Informed sources say that Chengdu Aviation Corp. plans to build a VTOL fighter similar to US F-35 VTOL fighter. The PLA may cooperate with Russia in developing it to use Russian Yak-41 and Yak-141 technology. Sources say that Chinese navy plans to build 6 newest Type 081 amphibious attack warships that can carry a few Chinese version of F-35 VTOL fighter jets to dominate the sea areas near China.

Judging by the USD300 million cost of a 28,000-ton Type 071 landing platform dock, the cost of a 40,000-ton amphibious attack warship will not exceed USD500 million. It is much cheaper and easier to build and maintain than a nuclear aircraft carrier for use in remote sea areas that costs billions of US dollars.

Source: “Exposure of the structural drawings of the aircraft carrier for 40 carrier-based aircrafts that China’s Jiangnan Shipyard is building in Shanghai” summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese

China plans to build a 110,000 ton ‘super aircraft carrier’ to rival US naval power

Sunday, December 22, 2013

CHINA has declared it is building a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier of a size to rival the biggest in United States naval service in the first move of a major new arms race.

Chinese website cites “top People’s Liberation Army” sources as saying the 110,000-ton aircraft carrier should be launched by 2020.

110,000-ton aircraft carrier should be launched by 2020

“By that time, China will be able to confront the most advanced US carrier-based fighter jets in high sea,” the Chinese-language article reads.

The news follows rising tensions in the South and East China Seas where the most recent incident involved a near-collision with a US cruiser shadowing China’s first aircraft carrier, the refurbished Liaoning which was purchased from Ukraine.

China’s first homegrown aircraft carrier will be a larger version of Liaoning. The first of two such vessels is due to hit the water in 2015.

The design is reportedly based on drawings from the former Soviet Union of a nuclear-powered, 80,000 ton vessel capable of carrying 60 aircraft.

“Despite their lack of experience, Chinese scientific research personnel have the ambition to overcome various difficulties to master lots of new technologies and techniques in building China’s own powerful aircraft carrier,” the article reads. Source


4 thoughts on “Naval Power: China Building Second Aircraft Carrier

  1. Nicky

    It’s STOBAR vs CATOBAR. Though US still holds the advantage with 10 Aircraft carriers. STOBAR carriers are limited to what kind of aircraft they can carry and can only carry aircraft with a HIGH thrust to weight ratio. Though the advantage of STOBAR is that it has no moving parts, operates on a Ski-jump and that it’s less costly to operate and maintain. As oppose to CATOBAR, we can launch and recover aircraft at the same time and can carry more aircraft than a STOBAR carrier.


    1. Tim Robinson

      EMALS is still CATOBAR though I’m being pedantic.. And in the end, EMALS or Steam, the outcomes for the combat sortie are identical… EMALS provides safety to crew and lowers impact on the airframe… When they get in the air, there is zero difference

      And they both sink



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