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.
The 001A has undergone eight sea trials over the course of 17 months. By comparison, China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, completed 10 sea trials in 13 months, before being commissioned in September 2012. Reports suggest that the Type 001A may be commissioned into the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy as early as November 2019.
Chinese aircraft carrier – Type 001A – Video
- The island of the Type 001A is approximately 10 percent smaller than that of the Liaoning, which provides additional deck space.
- 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 that of the Liaoning.
- The Type 001A is limited to six days at sea before refueling, which is similar to the Liaoning.
- The Type 001A reportedly underwent back-to-back sea trials in early August 2019, suggesting the vessel experienced technical problems during trials.
|Timeline of Key Events|
|April 26, 2017||Launch|
|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 begin for J-15, Z-18, and Z-9|
|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|
|May 14, 2019||Lane markings painted on flight deck, and replenishment drill|
|May 25 – 31, 2019||Sixth sea trial|
|August 1 – 4 and 6 – 22, 2019||Seventh sea trial|
|October 15 – 20, 2019||Eighth sea trial|
|November 2019 (expected)||Commission into the PLA Navy|
Comparing the Type 001A and the Liaoning
Outlines derived from satellite photos demonstrate the similarities between the carriers.
Key Characteristics of the Type 001A
|Carrier Type||Type 001||Type 001A|
|Displacement||60,000 – 66,000 tons||66,000 – 70,000 tons|
|Ski-jump inclination||14°||TBD. Reports indicate a 12° 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.|
|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||29 knots||31 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.