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
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    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.

    Chinese aircraft carrier – Type 001A – Video

    Key Facts

    • The control tower island of the Type 001A is approximately 10 percent smaller than that of the Liaoning.
    • It displaces roughly 66,000 – 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 will likely join the fleet by the end of 2019.

    Key Dates

    Timeline of Key Events
    April 26, 2017 Launch Date
    May 13 – May 18, 2018 First Sea Trial
    August 26 – September 4, 2018 Second Sea Trial
    September 11 – September 12, 2018 Arresting Gear Installed
    September 14, 2018 Flight Tests for J-15, Z-18, and Z-9 Begin
    September 25, 2018 Installation of Radio Antenna
    October 9, 2018 J-15D Spotted on Flight Deck
    October 28 – November 6, 2018 Third Sea Trial
    December 27, 2018 – January 8, 2019 Fourth Sea Trial
    February 27, 2019 – March 4, 2019 Fifth Sea Trial

    Comparing the Type 001A and the Liaoning

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

    Key Characteristics of the Type 001A

     LiaoningShandong (TBC)
    Pennant NumberCV-16CV-17
    Carrier TypeType 001Type 001A






    315 m



     Displacement 60,000 – 66,000 tons66,000 – 70,000 tons
     Launch Type STOBARSTOBAR
     Ski-jump inclination14 DegreesTBD. 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 slightly larger airwing than the Liaoning. An additional 4 fixed-wing aircraft or 8 helicopters is likely.
     Complement1,960 crew; 626 air groupTBD
     Armament3 × 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 AESAType 346A S-band AESA
     PropulsionConventional steam turbines with diesel generatorsConventional steam turbines with diesel generators
     Cruising Speed29 knots31 knots (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 on our feature page. ChinaPower

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