As China's economy grows, military capabilities continue to grow, which in turn stimulates the internal development of multiple weapons. No longer satisfied with importing foreign goods to satisfy local solutions, Chinese engineers are leading the effort with promising results.
One of the areas the military is looking to expand is its ocean-going capabilities, and what is needed here is a modern aircraft carrier.
In the 1990s, against the backdrop of Chinas growth and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, China purchased the hull of a former Soviet aircraft carrier from Ukrainea conventionally powered warship with a bow ramp. The carrier was converted and repurposed for the People's Liberation Army (PLAN) Navy, and its commissioning coincided with the development of a new naval fighter in the Soviet Union's Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker series.
The aircraft carrier is now actively serving as the CNS Liaoning (16 ships).
Currently (2017) the construction of the new domestically produced aircraft carrier CNS Shandong (17) continues. The ship, which is also conventionally powered, will be larger and heavier than the Liaoning, and will carry more fighter jets. With an estimated displacement of 60,000-70,000 tons, it can support 40-50 aircraft (including helicopters and drones).
In addition to these qualities, the ship will be equipped with advanced processing systems, sensors and radars for the 346A series. Lasers can also be used for self-defense aspects of ships. There is also talk of developing a prototype carrier-based airborne early warning system (AEW&C).
Shandong started construction in 2015 and is scheduled to launch sometime in 2020. It is expected that once commissioned, the mighty Shandong will become the flagship of the modern PLA.
The service wants to fund and build as many as six aircraft carriers, no doubt to advance energy projects in the region and challenge the U.S. Navy's authority on the high seas.
The South China Sea is home to numerous resource-rich regions and islands, and disputes between regional powers such as Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.
- Aircraft/Sea Support
- Blue Water Operations
- Fleet Support
- direct attack
1033 feet (314.86 m)
246 feet (74.98 m)
36 feet (10.97 m)
31 kn (36 mph)
3,910 nautical miles (4,500 miles; 7,242 km)
3 x HQ-10 (18 cells) Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) systems.
3 x 30mm Type 1130 Close-In Weapon System (CIWS).
Assumption/estimate (approximately 38 to 40 combat, support and special mission aircraft):
32 x Shenyang J-11 or J-15 fighters.
6 x Changhe Z-18 helicopters.
2 x Harbin Z-9 helicopters.
2 x KJ-600 Transport/AEW aircraft.
Ski jump starts, grappling hook resumes.