Type 002 aircraft carrier
|Operators:||People's Liberation Army Navy|
|Preceded by:||Type 001A aircraft carrier|
|Succeeded by:||Type 003 aircraft carrier|
|Propulsion:||conventional with integrated electric propulsion|
|Aviation facilities:||Hangar deck|
The Type 002 aircraft carrier is a second generation Chinese aircraft carrier design. The Type 002 will be the first Chinese carrier to feature an integrated electric propulsion system. This will allow the operation of electromagnetic launch catapults. The Type 002 configuration would for the first time be catapult-assisted takeoff but arrested recovery (CATOBAR), while the first two carriers were short takeoff but arrested recovery carrier (STOBAR). Foxtrot Alpha has suggested that the aircraft carrier is designated the Type 003, rather than the Type 002 as currently thought.
Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo of the People's Liberation Army Navy said in 2013 that China's next aircraft carrier would be equipped with an electromagnetic aircraft launch system. Multiple prototypes were spotted by media in 2012, and aircraft capable of electromagnetic launching were tested in Chinese Navy research facilities.
Construction of the carrier began in 2017, although the precise date is unknown. The Diplomat reported that "initial work" had begun in February 2016, followed by a notice to proceed with the construction given to the Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard Group in March 2017.
The ship is expected to be launched in 2020 and enter active service in 2023. It is estimated to have an aircraft capacity of about 40 fighter aircraft, several propeller powered transport and airborne early warning and control aircraft.
Overhead imagery of the hull under construction was identified in satellite photographs by the CSIS research organization and published by Reuters on May 7, 2019. The images show a bow section that appears to end with a flat 30-metre (98-foot) front and a separate hull section 41 metres wide, suggesting that the vessel will be larger than the 42,500-ton French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle but smaller than the largest supercarriers of the United States Navy.
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