China has two aircraft carriers: the refurbished carrier Liaoning and a second ship the Type 002 is currently undergoing sea trials.
Liaoning is expected to function strictly as a training carrier. The Type 002 carrier was built by China and its design was based upon the Liaoning design.
The Type 002 (previously referred to as Type 001A) resembles Liaoning but with a handful of improvements, including an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar the carrier’s island and a larger flight deck.
The Type 002 will carry up to thirty J-15 jets in all. Type 002 will be the first combat-capable carrier.
It also has a catapult means its aircraft must sacrifice range and striking power in order to take off from the flight deck.
A third aircraft carrier is under construction at the Jiangnan Shipyard at Shanghai. There are reports of a fourth aircraft carrier of the same class under construction at Dalian.
The third carrier will not have ski ramp for launching planes. It will use a CATOBAR, or Catapult-Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery. Catapults will allow the carrier to launch heavier aircraft with great fuel and weapons loads, making the carrier more effective as a power projection platform.
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