Type 001A aircraft carrier

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Type 001A aircraft carrier
Type 001A aircraft carrier after launch at Dalian (2017)
Builder: Dalian Shipbuilding Industry
Cost: US$4.5 billion[1]
Laid down: November 2013
Launched: 26 April 2017
Completed: 25 April 2018
Status: Sea trials[2]
General characteristics (as designed)
Class and type: Type 001A
Type: Aircraft carrier
  • 55,000 tons (when completed)[3][4]
  • 70,000 tons full load[5]
Length: 315 m (1,033 ft)[6]
Beam: 75 metres (246 ft)[6]
Propulsion: Conventional steam turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 31 knots (36 mph; 57 km/h)[6]
  • 3 × Type 1130 CIWS
  • 3 × HQ-10 (18 Cell Missile system)
Aircraft carried:
Type 001A aircraft carrier
Traditional Chinese 001A型航空母艦
Simplified Chinese 001A型航空母舰
Literal meaning 001A-type aircraft mothership

The Type 001A aircraft carrier is a first generation Chinese aircraft carrier that was launched on 26 April 2017 for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China. It is the country's second aircraft carrier after the completion of Liaoning, and the first built domestically.



The carrier was constructed by the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation in Dalian, China.[7] According to the state media service Xinhua, initial work on the vessel began in November 2013, and construction of its hull in a drydock began in March 2015.[7] The Chinese government did not publicly confirm the ship's existence until construction was well underway. Satellite imagery for the defense analysis industry showed the aircraft carrier in the early stages of hull assembly by March 2015. Public photos of a hull with military characteristics at the Dalian shipyard surfaced on the internet the next month.[8][9] In October 2015, the first definite signs of the vessel's role appeared when construction of a hangar deck began on the hull.[9] In December 2015, a Chinese defense ministry spokesman confirmed that the ship was an aircraft carrier, stating that the design and construction work was under way.[10]

In May 2016, the ski jump takeoff ramp was noted to be close to installation.[11] The ship's island superstructure was fabricated in two parts: the nine-deck forward half, containing the bridge and main mast, was installed by September of that year, while the aft half, with the funnel and air intakes, was installed in the weeks that followed.[12][13] By the end of that year, the ship was substantially structurally complete.[14]

The Type 001A carrier was launched on 26 April 2017.[15][16] The name of the carrier was not revealed at the launch ceremony, although earlier reports had speculated the aircraft carrier will be named Shandong after the province of the same name.[15]


Following the launch, the carrier was fitted-out and underwent early tests of the propulsion system.[17] After fitting-out was completed in November 2017, dockside system trials began.[18] On 17 April 2018, the ship's engines were started for the first time, and it left dock for its first round of sea trials on 23 April 2018.[19]

At the time of its launch, the ship was not expected to be delivered to PLAN until 2020; however, successful early tests put the project ahead of schedule and media reports indicated that it could enter the navy fleet as early as late 2018.[17] While its predecessor Liaoning has been used largely as a training ship since it entered active service in 2012, the Type 001A is expected to be used in regular military operational service.[20]

Sea trials[edit]

The Type 001A began preparations for sea trials in April 2018.[21] Initially, on-board construction equipment was seen being removed,[22] while the engine appeared to be active and radars rotating.[23] Subsequently, sections of the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea were cordoned off for unspecified military activities,[24] and the ship was seen leaving its berth with tugboat assistance.[25] Analysts suggested that if the sea trial goes accordingly, the ship could be commissioned as early as a year ahead of schedule.[26] On 13 May, the vessel began its first set of sea trials in the East China Sea, including performance tests and phase-in adjustments for the on-board facilities. [27][28][29]

On 26 August 2018, the Type 001A left Dalian shipyard again, purportedly for its second set of sea trials.[30] It was speculated that these sea trials could last up to 12 months, with a targeted delivery date of 1 October 2019.[30]


Admiral Kuznetsov, on which the Type 001A is based, at sea in 1996

The aircraft carrier's design is largely based on the China's first carrier Liaoning, which was itself built from the partially-complete hull of the Soviet Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier Varyag.[12] It retains the ski jump takeoff, which limits its air wing to helicopters and Shenyang J-15 fighter jets,[11][14] and the ship is powered by conventional oil-fired boilers driving eight steam turbines derived from the Soviet-designed examples installed on Liaoning.[12][19] It measures about 315 metres (1,033 ft) long, with a displacement of about 55,000 tonnes (70,000 loaded).[15][20]

However, it carries modifications and upgrades compared to Liaoning. It has increased storage for ammunition and fuel, with a larger aircraft capacity of 44 aircraft, eight more than Liaoning.[31][20][32] It has a broader flight deck, while the island superstructure on Type 001A is also shorter to give more space for aircraft movements.[31] The island also has redesigned radars and a new bridge, while the fleet command and flight control tower are on separate floors for more efficiency.[13][31][33]

Future carriers, such as the Type 002 aircraft carrier, are planned to use an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) that allows the launch of heavier aircraft as well as more advanced aircraft such as the Shenyang J-31 or the Chengdu J-20.[34][35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/china-launches-first-home-built-aircraft-carrier/
  2. ^ https://www.janes.com/article/80064/china-s-second-aircraft-carrier-begins-sea-trials
  3. ^ Pike, John (2 September 2017). "Kuznetsov Class - Project 1143.5". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov". RusNavy.com. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  5. ^ "China, Sending a Signal, Launches a Home-Built Aircraft Carrier". The New York Times. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Chan, Minnie (12 April 2017). "10 things you should know about China's first home-built aircraft carrier". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  7. ^ a b "China launches second aircraft carrier". Xinhua. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  8. ^ "China may be building first indigenous carrier". Jane's Defence Weekly. IHS. 27 September 2015. Archived from the original on 30 September 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  9. ^ a b "China's First Homemade Carrier Moves Forward". Popular Science. 27 October 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  10. ^ "China Begins Building Second Aircraft Carrier". The Wall Street Journal. 31 December 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  11. ^ a b "China's New Carrier Gets A Ski Ramp". Popular Science. 20 May 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  12. ^ a b c "Further progress made on China's Type 001A carrier". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  13. ^ a b "China Adds An Island Tower To Its Aircraft Carrier". Popular Science. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Analysis: Chinese aircraft carrier program progressing substantially into the new year". Defense News. 31 January 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  15. ^ a b c "China, Sending a Signal, Launches a Home-Built Aircraft Carrier". The New York Times. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  16. ^ LaGrone, Sam (26 April 2017). "VIDEO: China Launches First Domestic Aircraft Carrier". USNI News. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  17. ^ a b "China's first home-grown aircraft carrier could join the navy ahead of schedule". South China Morning Post. 4 August 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  18. ^ "China's first domestically built aircraft carrier completes outfitting". China Daily. 23 November 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  19. ^ a b "China's first home-grown Type 001A aircraft carrier begins maiden sea trial". South China Morning Post. 23 April 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  20. ^ a b c "China Launches First Home-Built Aircraft Carrier, Boosting Naval Power". The Wall Street Journal. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  21. ^ "China prepares aircraft carrier for sea trial".
  22. ^ "Will China's New Aircraft Carrier Start Sea Trials This Week?". The Diplomat. 23 April 2018.
  23. ^ "China's first homegrown aircraft carrier is a sign of the country's military aspirations". CNBC. 25 April 2018.
  24. ^ "China's new carrier set for sea trials: experts". Global Times. 22 April 2018.
  25. ^ "China's first home-grown Type 001A aircraft carrier begins maiden sea trial". South China Morning Post. 23 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Chinese newest aircraft carrier may start sea trials this week — and could join the fleet a year ahead of schedule, amid a growing rivalry with the US". Business Insider. 25 April 2018.
  27. ^ "First made-in-China aircraft carrier starts sea trials". Global Times. 13 May 2018.
  28. ^ "First made-in-China aircraft carrier starts sea trials". Straits Times. 13 May 2018.
  29. ^ "China's first domestically built aircraft carrier begins maiden sea trial". South China Morning Post. 13 May 2018.
  30. ^ a b Chan, Minnie (28 August 2018). "Chinese aircraft carrier on final sea run to combat readiness". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  31. ^ a b c "Here's what we know about China's newest aircraft carriers". News.AU. 23 April 2018.
  32. ^ "China's first homegrown aircraft carrier heads out for sea trial". CNN. 13 May 2018.
  33. ^ Rogoway, Tyler (13 May 2018). "Mothership's Day: China's New Carrier Sets Sail, French Fly From USS George H.W. Bush". The Drive. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  34. ^ China's making major progress with its aircraft carrier tech. Popular Science. 16 August 2017.
  35. ^ Dominguez, Gabriel (7 December 2017). "Future Chinese carriers to deploy J-20, J-31 stealth fighters, says report". Jane's Information Group.