Type 001A aircraft carrier

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Type 001A aircraft carrier
停泊于大连港的001A.jpg
Type 001A aircraft carrier after launching at Dalian (2017)
History
China
Builder: Dalian Shipbuilding Industry
Laid down: November 2013
Launched: 26 April 2017
Completed: 25 April 2018
Status: Sea trials[1]
General characteristics (as designed)
Class and type: Type 001A-class aircraft carrier
Displacement:
  • 55,000 tons (when completed)[2][3]
  • 70,000 tons full load[4]
Length: 315 m (1,033 ft)[5]
Beam: 75 metres (246 ft)[5]
Propulsion: Conventional steam turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 31 knots (36 mph; 57 km/h)[5]
Armament:
  • 3 × Type 1130 CIWS
  • 3 × HQ-10 (18 Cell Missile system)
Aircraft carried:
Type 001A aircraft carrier
Simplified Chinese001A型航空母舰
Traditional Chinese001A型航空母艦
Literal meaning001A-type aircraft mothership

The Type 001A aircraft carrier is a first generation Chinese aircraft carrier that was launched on 26 April 2017 for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China. It is the country's second aircraft carrier after the completion of Liaoning, and the first built domestically.

History[edit]

Construction[edit]

The carrier was constructed by the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation in Dalian, China.[6] According to the state media service Xinhua, initial work on the vessel began in November 2013, and construction of its hull in a drydock began in March 2015.[6] The Chinese government did not publicly confirm the ship's existence until construction was well underway. Satellite imagery for the defense analysis industry showed the aircraft carrier in the early stages of hull assembly by March 2015. Public photos of a hull with military characteristics at the Dalian shipyard surfaced on the internet the next month.[7][8] In October 2015, the first definite signs of the vessel's role appeared when construction of a hangar deck began on the hull.[8] In December 2015, a Chinese defense ministry spokesman confirmed that the ship was an aircraft carrier, stating that the design and construction work was under way.[9]

In May 2016, the ski jump takeoff ramp was noted to be close to installation.[10] The ship's island superstructure was fabricated in two parts: the nine-deck forward half, containing the bridge and main mast, was installed by September of that year, while the aft half, with the funnel and air intakes, was installed in the weeks that followed.[11][12] By the end of 2016, the ship was substantially structurally complete.[13]

The Type 001A carrier was launched on 26 April 2017.[14][15] The name of the carrier was not revealed at the launch ceremony, although earlier reports had speculated the aircraft carrier will be named Shandong after the province of the same name.[14] Foxtrot Alpha has also claimed that the carrier is actually designated Type 002 instead of Type 001A.[16]

Outfitting[edit]

Following the launch, the carrier was fitted-out and underwent early tests of the propulsion system.[17] After fitting-out was completed in November 2017, dockside system trials began.[18]

At the time of its launch, the ship was not expected to be delivered to PLAN until 2020; however, successful early tests put the project ahead of schedule and media reports indicated that it could enter the navy fleet in 2019.[17] While its predecessor Liaoning has been used largely as a training ship since it entered active service in 2012, the Type 001A is expected to be used in regular military operational service.[19]

Sea trials[edit]

The Type 001A began preparations for sea trials in April 2018.[20] Initially, on-board construction equipment was seen being removed,[21] while the engine appeared to be active and radars rotating.[22] Subsequently, sections of the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea were cordoned off for unspecified military activities,[23] and the ship was seen leaving its berth with tugboat assistance.[24] Analysts suggested that if the sea trial succeeds according to plan, the ship could be commissioned as early as a year ahead of schedule.[25] On 13 May 2018, the vessel began its first set of sea trials in the East China Sea, including performance tests and phase-in adjustments for the on-board facilities. [26][27][28]

On 26 August 2018, the Type 001A left Dalian shipyard again, purportedly for its second set of sea trials.[29] A third round of trials began on 28 October 2018.[30]

The carrier left the shipyard on 27 December 2018 for its fourth set of sea trials, with photos showing it with three aircraft and three jet blast deflectors on its flight deck.[31]

The fifth sea trial took place from 27 February to 5 March 2019 in the Yellow Sea off the coast of Dalian, where it was built.[32]

The carrier is expected to enter naval service in 2019.[33]

Design[edit]

Liaoning, on which the Type 001A is based.

The aircraft carrier's design is largely based on China's first carrier Liaoning, which was itself built from the partially-complete hull of the Soviet Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier Varyag.[11] It retains the ski jump takeoff, which limits its air wing to helicopters and Shenyang J-15 fighter jets,[10][13] and the ship is powered by conventional oil-fired boilers driving eight steam turbines derived from the Soviet-designed examples installed on Liaoning.[11][34] It measures about 315 metres (1,033 ft) long, with a displacement of about 55,000 tonnes (70,000 loaded).[14][19]

However, it carries modifications and upgrades compared to Liaoning. It has increased storage for ammunition and fuel, with a larger aircraft capacity of 44 aircraft, eight more than Liaoning.[35][19][36] It has a broader flight deck, while the island superstructure on Type 001A is also shorter to give more space for aircraft movements.[35] The island also has redesigned radars and a new bridge, while the fleet command and flight control tower are on separate floors for more efficiency.[12][35][37] It includes an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system.[38]

Future carriers, such as the Type 002 aircraft carrier, are planned to use an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) that allows the launch of heavier aircraft as well as more advanced aircraft such as the Shenyang J-31 or the Chengdu J-20.[39][40]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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