The state owned news agency Xinhua reports that China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier was launched on Wednesday morning. This latest acquisition for the Chinese naval forces ups the ante to 2 aircraft carriers, yet the previous one was merely a refitted USSR made carrier that entered service in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy back in 2012.
The new aircraft carrier though was completely in-house built in the Dalian shipyard located in China’s north-eastern Liaoning Province by China Shipbuilding Industry Corp and it will begin a series of drills and trial voyages aimed at testing thoroughly the company’s proprietary technologies incorporated into its built.
China’s latest vessel will enter full service sometime in 2020 and it signals Beijing’s firm intentions to further project its military power in the South and East China seas.
— People’s Daily,China (@PDChina) April 26, 2017
However, this is not a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, but conventionally propelled and it comes with a ski jump/sloped flight deck for jets takeoff. Also, this ship is smaller than the Soviet made one (Liaoning), boasting a 50,000 metric tons dead-weight vs Liaoning’s 67,000 tons.
The new conventionally propelled Chinese-made aircraft carrier comes under the temporary Type 001A moniker and it was built and developed in under 5 years, which is pretty amazing to say the least.
According to estimates, the aircraft carrier is cleverly designed and it is capable of holding as many as 36 aircraft, which is almost 50% more than the Liaoning, despite its smaller size. However, this new Chinese made vessel is very modest compared to USA’s 10 (fully operational) Nimitz class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, which are capable of holding 90 aircraft with a 5000 crew each.
Moreover, it is confirmed that the Chinese already started working on their second aircraft carrier, and this one will feature a steam catapult for launching its jets. Finally, the third ship, which is pending for now, is said to use nuclear propulsion.