On August 26th, China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier Type 001A embarked on its second open sea trials.
This happened two days after China’s first missile destroyer the Type 055 had its first sea trial.
The Type 001A was assisted by tugboats when it set out from the Dalian Shipyard in Northeast China’s Liaoning Province. “The carrier’s second sea trial will focus on dealing with issues that arose during the first,” Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator was cited by the Global Times.
The first Type 001A sea trials started on May 13th and finished on May 18th, 2018. According to China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) Chairman Hu Wenming, the first sea trial results for the ship were successful. On May 23rd the ship returned to the Dalian Shipyard to finish outfitting work.
On July 5th, outfitting work on the ship appeared to have been completed. “The carrier’s surface doesn’t show any big changes, and the outfitting work is primarily for inspection and maintenance. After the first sea trial, the ship’s instruments collected data and information, so its equipment must be adjusted based on the data,” said Song Zhongping said on July 5th. “The carrier can be delivered to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy as soon as possible,” he added.
While testing the ships’ power systems is the main focus, the second sea trial will involve heavier payloads and other system diagnostics including command, communication and damage management, he further commented.
Zhang Ye, a research fellow at the PLA Naval Research Institute, was cited by the Global Times saying that the second sea trial will also focus on running tests of the aircraft carrier’s weaponry and equipment. “Radars, the navigation system and main weapons will be tested,” Zhang said.
The Global Times further cites Zhang who claimed that future sea trials will involve testing fighter jets and helicopters on board the aircraft carrier before it is delivered to the PLA Navy.
Thanks to the knowledge gained from the Liaoning, the country’s first aircraft carrier, China appears to have significantly accelerated its shipbuilding.
The Liaoning is a refitted Admiral Kuznetsov-class carrier, which was bought from Ukraine in 2012. It took nearly 6 years to commission the Type 001 Liaoning.
The Type 001A is an upgraded version of China’s first carrier, and it is said to be delivered in about a year, which is significantly faster than its predecessor. Its construction began in 2013.
On July 30th, Task and Purpose reported that the Chinese shipbuilder working on Beijing’s third aircraft carrier, the Type 002, leaked an artist’s impression of the carrier on social media.
The China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation photo showed the future Type 002 with a large flight deck that featured an angled landing strip and three electromagnetic catapult launching systems — all of which represent a technologic leap to the kind of supercarriers fielded by the U.S. Navy, as reported by Task and Purpose.
In comparison to the Type 001A, it will be much more advanced. It has a built-in ski jump on the flight deck and uses an old-fashioned short take-off but arrested recovery launching system that limits the speed of launches and the size of the armaments fighters carry. The Type 002, according to Task and Purpose, will be able to deploy a greater number and variety of aircraft, as well as deploy it much more quickly.
China’s bid for naval supremacy is reinforced by a report from May 5th by the National Interest, according to it China is building its fourth aircraft carrier, which will reportedly be nuclear-powered and possibly match the specifications of the Nimitz-class carriers the U.S. Navy has operated for the last 50 years.
The Type 001A, Type 002, the possible future nuclear-powered carrier, as well as the Type 055 missile destroyer, in addition to the undergoing development of Artificial Intelligence controlled submarines is priming China to become the global leader in naval force.