26 April 2017

VIDEO: China Launches First Domestic Aircraft Carrier

Sam LaGrone, “VIDEO: China Launches First Domestic Aircraft Carrier,” USNI News, 26 April 2017.

…  China is thought to have already begun construction on its second domestic carrier – Type-002 — at the Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard near Shanghai. 

Unlike the new Type-001A and Liaoning, the new carrier is expected to field a catapult launching system allowing a wider variety of aircraft to operate from the carrier. Satellite images of the nearby Huangdicun Airbase in Liaoning Province show what appears to be electromagnetic and steam catapult launching test systems.

“Developing its own CATOBAR system, and fitting it on China’s future aircraft carriers will enable the PLAN to operate a well-rounded carrier air wing that includes force multipliers such as Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, which tend to be heavier and use less-powerful, but more efficient engines,” wrote USNI News contributor Mike Yeo in September. …

“China wants to sail a gradually increasing number of aircraft carriers into the center of growing blue water operations. The evidence is growing in Chinese shipyards and ports across the Indian Ocean and beyond,” Andrew Erickson, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) and author of a recent book on Chinese naval shipbuilding, told USNI News on Wednesday. …

Three years ago, a Chinese party official declared Beijing was set to build four carriers in a state report, but the government quickly deleted the instance.

A four-carrier force would mimic traditional carrier deployment patterns in which there are three carriers in maintenance or workups for every carrier deployed.

“This is likely just the beginning of China’s fledgling naval aviation capabilities as their maritime forces build towards a large well-balanced fleet capable of protecting and projecting Chinese interests in the Pacific and potentially around the world,” Eric Wertheim, author of U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets, told USNI News on Wednesday. …