13 photos of Type 001A, China's first domestically built aircraft carrier
China's second aircraft carrier - and first domestically built carrier - completed its initial sea trial last week.
The carrier, referred to as Type 001A, left its port in the northeastern city of Dalian on May 13 and returned on May 18 after completing all of its assigned tasks.
China launched Type 001A in April 2017, five years after commissioning its first carrier, the Liaoning, and expects to enter it into service later this year.
Beijing has grand ambitions for a world-class military, and has steadily increased its defense budget over the last two decades. It reportedly might soon test its new Type 055 destroyer, and is even building a third carrier, 002, that may be nuclear powered.
Here's what we know about Type 001A:
Launched in April 2017, and expected to be commissioned in 2018, China's first domestically built aircraft carrier, Type 001A, will likely be named Shandong.
It's about 1,033 feet long, has a beam of about 246 feet, and a displacement of 66,000 to 70,000 tons.
It's powered by eight conventional steam turbines with diesel engines, and has an expected cruising speed of about 36 mph.
While the Liaoning was designed as a "heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser" with significant armaments, Type 001A was designed to serve in a similar strategic role as US carriers, sailing as the centerpiece of a strike group.
But the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has reported that it will likely have similar armaments as the Liaoning, which is equipped with three HQ-10 SAMs, two RBU-6000 ASW rocket launchers, and three Type 1130 close-in weapon systems.
Type 001A is expected to have a larger air wing than the Liaoning, possibly holding four more fixed wing aircraft or eight helicopters.
The Liaoning can hold 18 to 24 J-15 fighters and 17 Ka-28 helicopters.
Type 001A's flight deck has a built-in ski jump, reportedly angled at 12 degrees, unlike the Liaoning, which is angled at 14 degrees.
Here's a shot from the island looking onto the flight deck and ski jump.
Here's a close-up of the island, with the Type 346A S-band AESA on top.
And here's a shot inside the island.
Impressive production time notwithstanding, Type 001A's effectiveness will be limited by its conventional propulsion and short take-off but arrested recovery launch system.
But China's next carriers, such as 002, are the ones to watch out for, as they'll likely be nuclear-powered and have more advanced launch systems allowing for faster sorties.
Lastly, see more of Type 001A in the short video below:
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