China Making Final Preparations To Launch Its First Domestically Built Aircraft Carrier (Photos)

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The People’s Liberation Army Navy is preparing to receive the first Chinese domestically built aircraft carrier.

“The scaffolding around the ship, temporarily named the Type 001A, was removed and the deck was cleared, Shanghai-based news portal thepaper.cn reported, suggesting that the launch date was getting close.

However, experts said tidal conditions yesterday were not conducive for a launch to mark the navy’s birthday, and expected a ceremony to take place in the next few days,” The South China Morning Post reported on April 25.

The carrier has a displacement of 70,000 tonnes. It is 315 metres long, 75 metres wide and has a cruising speed of 31 knots.

SF recommends previous analyses about China and its military capabilities:

  1. Chinese Aircraft Carrier Development. What Is New?
  2. China Expands Its Amphibious Capabilities
  3. Russian and Chinese Next Generation Destroyers
  4. China successfully test launches new DF-41 ICBM into the South China Sea
  5. Birth of the Chinese Aircraft Carrier Force
  6. The South China Sea Crisis: International Law, Sovereignty and the Control of Natural Resources
  7. Chinese Naval Power
  8. Military Analysis: China’s Ballistic Missile Arsenal

Fresh photos of the Type 001A:

China Making Final Preparations To Launch Its First Domestically Built Aircraft Carrier (Photos)

Click to see the full-size image

China Making Final Preparations To Launch Its First Domestically Built Aircraft Carrier (Photos)

Click to see the full-size image

China Making Final Preparations To Launch Its First Domestically Built Aircraft Carrier (Photos)

Click to see the full-size image

China Making Final Preparations To Launch Its First Domestically Built Aircraft Carrier (Photos)

Click to see the full-size image

China Making Final Preparations To Launch Its First Domestically Built Aircraft Carrier (Photos)

Click to see the full-size image

China Making Final Preparations To Launch Its First Domestically Built Aircraft Carrier (Photos)

Click to see the full-size image

China Making Final Preparations To Launch Its First Domestically Built Aircraft Carrier (Photos)

Click to see the full-size image

China Making Final Preparations To Launch Its First Domestically Built Aircraft Carrier (Photos)

Click to see the full-size image

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  • Peter Moy

    There has been a lot of speculation about this new Chinese flat-top. Some sources speculate that its aircraft capacity will be ~ 36 J-15 fighters plus helicopters. Only time will tell.

    • Jonathan Cohen

      How many refuelling aircraft? carrier based refuellers passing fuel to land based combat aircraft is the future of carriers. US is bringing back Viking Refuellers AND developing 1st carrier drone as refueller.

      • Peter Moy

        If the air wing is similar to that of the Liaoning, it will have Z-9 helicopters for search and rescue, Z-18s for anti submarine warfare and KA-31s for airborne early warning. They are at present trying to develop a fixed-wing AEW aircraft similar to a US Navy E-2 Hawkeye and an in-flight refueling aircraft using a “buddy pack” pod on a J-15. There is a website: http://www.chinadefence.blogspot.com that has a lot of information about the PLA.

        • Jonathan Cohen

          They should prioritize that buddy pack pod but even more priority on a dedicated refueller perhaps similar to E-2/C-2, slow fixed wing. C-2 would be runner up to S-3 viking as US refueller. It’s just more practical to let the supersonics be land based and bring fuel up to them from the carrier, especially if you are operating within the region. I don’t know if helicopters are fast enough to give fuel to J-15s.

  • Tudor Miron

    It will be wrong to say that this is China’s own original design.

    • RGtz98

      What design do you think it is?

      • ruca

        Based on the Russian hull they bought from Ukraine, if I’m not mistaken.

        • Solomon Krupacek

          soviet, not russian.
          otherwise, much more modern version is this carreer

          • ruca

            Yes it is Soviet.

      • Tudor Miron

        Looking at it and reading its tech data (dimensions etc.) it is obvious that it is based on Admiral Kuznetsov. Yes, they tryed to improve the base design, but origins are very obvious.

  • MeMadMax

    Lets see here, some design considerations in this particular ship:
    Ramp style is defensive in nature as you can only launch one aircraft at a time. Plus only two aircraft elevators which further limits aircraft launching/recovery. However, there appears to be space on the port side of the deck that is dedicated for helicopter usage.
    Regarding this style of ramp carrier, the russians knew the limitations, thats why they outfitted their ramp style carrier with missiles as well. It’s obvious that the chinese traded in the missiles for extra aircraft capacity. Which is stupid because it would literally take hours to launch all the aircraft on board…

    The “phased grid array radar” on the superstructure is fake.

    This ship appears to have twin screws(the ship hasn’t been fueled or fitted out, so its freeboard is very high out of the water), which means that the ships’ max speed is around 22-25 knots(NOT 31 knots as mentioned in the article). The bulbous bow also seems unusually small further hampering maximum speed.

    • Tudor Miron

      Thanks for interesting technical observations.

    • Pave Way IV

      Missiles vs. aircraft capacity – I assume you’re talking about defensive missiles on the carrier itself, right?

      China hasn’t been beating down on anyone recently that I recall except for Tibet and its own Uyghars. If they don’t go psycho Imperialist like the U.S., then why would they ever need a carrier with much more capability? Things always change of course, but doesn’t seem they would have needed one for much of anything in the last half-decade or so. I have to wonder if they will ever bother building a ‘regular’ aircraft carrier with catapults. Same for Russia – why bother now if you don’t already have them?

      “…The “phased grid array radar” on the superstructure is fake…”

      It wouldn’t surprise me either way, but are you basing that on something besides what we see in the pictures? Phased array radars themselves are not exactly rocket science any more, but I have no idea about big ones like the SPY-x the U.S. uses. China does have existing mobile air defense systems with phased array radars, so they must be able to build something workable for ships. Their Y-8W / KJ-200 AWACS has a fairly capable AESA radar, so they are at least that far along.

      • MeMadMax

        The russian version has a variety of missile systems that are both air to air and air to ground.
        The chinese version appears to have neither at this time(although it could be fitted with smaller modular versions like the sea sparrow for example). But the final structure suggests that the vertical launch missile tubes will not be installed.

        I do not care for politics, I am a naval engineer.
        However, in the engineers eyes, if you are gonna build a weapons’ platform of any type, you should go all in or go home. Which is why I consider this platform a joke and point out its many deficiencies to people that don’t know any better, before they freak out even more and jump on the “World War 3” or “The world is gonna end” bandwagon…

        You can plainly see in the pictures that the radar arrays are fake: You can see the ripple of the supporting structural steel underneath a very thin sheet of steel or whatever they used to cover the structural ribs. This means there’s nothing there but a thin steel sheet. Also, chinese radars are… weird… in their antenna arrangement. This does not mean that they won’t mount something there later however, it just means that there appears to be some… decorations symbolizing where a radar should be.

        And they do have phased array on some of their destroyers.

        • Pave Way IV

          Is the speed or hull any kind of limitation for where they could send this ship globally? Not that they would necessarily want to do that, but I can’t imagine this thing anywhere but the Yellow/East/South China Sea.

          • MeMadMax

            With enough determination, any ship could be sent anywhere in the world. It’s more of a matter of logistics than speed or hull.

            But you are right in the case regarding this carrier being more for South China sea use.
            This carrier appears to be non-nuclear powered. Which means that it is using some other power plant that requires fossil fuel. So that means there will need to be a greater logistics support behind it in the form of oil tankers. I do not doubt that china has plenty of oil tankers to support this carrier, or even the other logistics like cargo carrying ships(for food, bombs, spare parts, etc).

            However, tankers do not go fast, and will be need to be pre-planned and pre-positioned along this carriers route if it wants to go somewhere fast. Since that will most likely never be the case in an emergency, China will not be able to send this carrier to a “hot spot” within 3 days like we can with a nuclear powered aircraft carrier.

      • Daniel Castro

        “If they don’t go psycho Imperialist like the U.S., then why would they ever need a carrier with much more capability? ”

        Short answer:
        Because US went psycho imperialist,,, or why else China would need a carrier?

        • PZIVJ1943

          Or maybe China has a lot of extra cash on their hands.
          And wants to intimidate the neighboring countries. There own sphere of influence in the S china seas.
          What’s going on in Taiwan?

          • Daniel Castro

            Neighboring countries being intimidated are nothing but anglo-zionist colonies acting as cannon fodder on USA quest for world domnation, so I don’t have problem with that. When China come to my country starting to teach us how we should act and what we can and cannot do then I will worry about them.

        • Pave Way IV

          That’s kind of the point MeMadMax and I are making, Daniel. It is not going to be effective in any kind of engagement with a modern navy, and certainly not effective in some kind of air war with a modern, large catapult carrier. It’s not very useful against subs since it can’t land or launch fixed-wing sub hunters. They’ll probably throw a few anti-sub choppers on it, but that’s sort of a last-ditch measure. By time a sub is that close and/or detected, it’s pretty late in the game.

          The only thing it would be good at is intimidating a much smaller, weaker land-based opponent – and preferably one without anti-ship missiles. Even Taiwan WITHOUT US backing could put a few missile destroyers close enough to sink it. Russia I get – their navy can be set up to protect (as much as possible) their aircraft carrier. Maybe China has that kind of capability too but we’ve never seen it yet. It just ends up taking up a lot of advanced naval assets to properly protect a carrier, so it seems irrational they would go ahead building a small one with little capability. Stepping-stone I suppose – it’s not like this is the last one they will ever float. If the US disappeared tomorrow, then it might come in handy.

          • Daniel Castro

            I don’t know, perhaps it also could be used to project power attacking terrorist insurgents with no navy or airforce, protection might come through deterrent only, as China could treat an attack to defend terrorist forces as an act of war. China has many assets to protect in Africa, probably they are rushing this Aircraft Carrier to compete with a decaying USA betting muricans will do nothing against them because it would also be selfdestruction.

          • Jesus

            Russian carrier Kuznetsov carries surface to surface and surface to air missiles, in addition to aircraft and helicopters.
            The Chinese carrier seems a similar replica of the Kuznetsov, ramped decks have their limitations, however they still provide air support for air to air and air to surface missions. This carrier is not intended to go against a carrier strike force head on, it is a link between costal aviation and aviation needed to protect their man made islands in the Spratly group.
            China still relies on DF 21-26 missiles to engage enemy carriers, equipping this carrier with weapons similar to Kuznetsov, would make it more multidimensional and effective.

            BTW Kuznetsov’s Granit missiles will be replaced by Caliber missiles, giving the carrier a far greater reach than its on board aircraft.

          • MeMadMax

            He mentions imperialism which is a concept and term coined by marx.
            Don’t fall for that trap.

    • PZIVJ1943

      Also a major limitation of a ramp style carrier, The aircraft are very limited as to weight for take off. They have to sacrifice both payload and range.

  • Ronald

    Considering China’s massive steel overproduction , surprised they don’t just copy an older but longer US or UK design . The ramp bow is only helpful for take offs , not landings . If they built the hulls and had Russia do the electric and weapons systems , they could have five or so each , which they can fine – tune over time .

  • Thegr8rambino

    Good for them! Hope it serves them well against Usa/NATO/israhelli aggression in the future