What do we know (so far) about China’s second aircraft carrier?

What do we know (so far) about China’s second aircraft carrier?
What do we know (so far) about China’s second aircraft carrier?
What do we know (so far) about China’s second aircraft carrier? Top

    Five years after commissioning its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, China launched its second carrier – the Type 001A – on April 26, 2017. Unlike its Soviet-built predecessor, the Type 001A is China’s first domestically built carrier. Both carriers are similar in size and use a STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) system for the launch and recovery of aircraft. Although similar to the Liaoning, the Type 001A features some notable enhancements and represents an important step in China’s developing aircraft carrier program.

    Key Facts

    • The control tower island of the Type 001A is approximately 10 percent smaller than that of the Liaoning.
    • It displaces roughly 65,000 – 70,000 tons, a few thousand more tons than the Liaoning.
    • It features the advanced Type 346 S-band AESA radar system.
    • Its airwing is expected to be slightly larger than that of the Liaoning, featuring around 8 additional aircraft.
    • The Type 001A may have an internal arrangement that is better optimized than the Liaoning’s.
    • It is expected to be commissioned around 2020.

    Comparing the Type 001A and the Liaoning

    Outlines derived from satellite photos demonstrate the similarities between the carriers.


    Key Characteristics of the Type 001A

    Liaoning Shandong (TBC)
    Pennant Number CV-16 CV-17
    Carrier Type Type 001 Type 001A




    The dimensions of the Type 001A are expected to be nearly identical to those of the Liaoning, however, some reports have suggested it may be up to 10 meters longer.
     Displacement  60,000 – 65,000 tons 65,000 – 70,000 tons
     Launch Type  STOBAR STOBAR
     Ski-jump inclination 14 Degrees TBD. Some reports indicate a 12 degrees inclination, but this is yet to be confirmed.

     18-24 J-15 fighters

    17 Ka-28/Ka-31/Z-8S/Z-8JH/Z-8AEW helicopters

    TBD. It is expected that the Type 001A will feature a handful, perhaps around 8, more aircraft than the Liaoning.
     Complement 1,960 crew; 626 air group TBD
     Armament 3 × Type 1130 CIWS; 3 × HQ-10 SAM (18-Cell); 2 RBU-6000 ASW rocket launchers and flare/chaff rocket launchers  TBD. Likely similar to the Liaoning
     Radar  Type 346 S-band AESA Type 346A S-band AESA
     Propulsion Conventional steam turbines with diesel generators Conventional steam turbines with diesel generators
     Cruising Speed 32 knots 32 knots (expected)
     Launch Date  December 4, 1988 (by Soviet Union) April 26, 2017
     Sea Trials  2011 2018 – 2019 (expected)
    Commissioned September 25, 2012 2020 (expected)
    All information is subject to change. Figures for the Type 001A are likely to change as more information becomes available. Details of the Liaoning sourced from The Military Balance. Feel free to contact us at chinapower@csis.org with any relevant information. 

    Explore the Liaoning

    The Type 001A shares several similarities with the Liaoning. Explore our 3D model of the Liaoning below, or read more on our feature pageChinaPower

    Liaoning Aircraft Carrier

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