25 April 2017

Is This a Supercarrier?

Video courtesy of RT.
China has launched its first indigenously produced aircraft carrier:
China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, formally named the Shandong, was launched on Wednesday in the latest display of Beijing’s growing naval power.


The carrier, which had earlier been temporarily named the Type 001A, is China’s second after the Liaoning, a refitted former Soviet Union-made carrier that was put into commission in the PLA Navy in 2012.

The carrier, 315 metres long and 75 metres wide, has a cruising speed of 31 knots and a displacement of 70,000 tonnes.

It is slightly larger than the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft ­carrier, which was refurbished from the semi-completed Soviet carrier Varyag, which Beijing bought from a Ukrainian shipyard in 1998.


Even though its layout is almost the same as the Liaoning, the Shandong features new equipment and a more advanced operational concept, including a bigger hangar to carry more J-15 fighter jets and more space on deck for helicopters and other aircraft.

Type 001A

USS Kennedy and Saratoga
At 70,000 metric tons (Tonnes) displacement, this ship displaces more than Forrestal Class, Kitty Hawk Class, and the John F. Kennedy at normal load, but it lacks catapult gear, which to my mind is a requirement fo be called a "Supercarrier".

One of the thing that I find interesting is the size of the island.

The superstructure is MUCH larger than those for the now retired) US conventional supercarriers.

My guess is that the air defense suite for the Type 001A is rather more extensive than those of US carriers, and that this additional island space accommodates more types of radars as well as launchers for missiles of a type that are typically carried by the carrier's escorts in a US carrier group.

The Chinese are very early in the process of learning how to operate a carrier battle group, and so are providing capabilities on their carrier, at the expense of deck space and (possibly) sea keeping, that the US has found to be superfluous.


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