China Launches First Domestically built Aircraft Carrier

China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier slipped into the sea for the first time on Wednesday.

The carrier will have more testing and fitting of equipment before trials in the water. This is China’s second aircraft carrier. The ship is due to go into service in 2020 when it will join existing carrier, the Soviet-era Liaoning, bought secondhand from Ukraine and then refurbished.

It is a conventionally powered ski jump carrier with a displacement of around 50,000 tonnes. It is likely to be powered by oil-fired boilers and steam turbines.

The second Chinese-designed aircraft carrier, known as Type 002, is to be an entirely different design than Types 001 (Liaoning) and 001A. It will be more like a US aircraft carrier rather than a Russian one.

The construction of the first Type 002 class aircraft carrier started in February 2016.

In March 2017, a Chinese navy official said that steam-powered catapults will be installed on Type 002 class carriers. The Type 002 is expected to launch in 2021 and will be operational around 2024.

The Type 003 class aircraft carriers will likely adopt the electromagnetic aircraft launch system.


China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier on Sunday at the Dalian port in northeastern China. Credit The Yomiuri Shimbun, via Associated Press

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