Experts: China’s new aircraft carrier can carry more weapons

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Yao Jianing
2016-01-05 17:14

BEIJING, January 5 (ChinaMil) -- Yang Yujun, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), confirmed at a news conference on December 31, 2015 that China is now independently designing and building its second aircraft carrier.

China’s second aircraft carrier is now under construction in Dalian of northeast China’s Liaoning Province. The conventionally powered carrier with a water displacement of about 50,000 tons can carry China-made J-15 fighters and other types of carrier-borne aircraft, and the ski-jump take-off method is adopted for fixed-wing aircraft.

The carrier will be equipped with various types of equipment to fulfill its necessary tasks. A lot of improvements and upgrading have been achieved in the design and building of the carrier by drawing upon useful experience in the scientific experiments and training on the aircraft carrier Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, according to Yang Yujun.

A U.S. assessment result showed that the combat power for an aircraft carrier with the catapult-assisted take-off method for carrier-borne aircraft is about six times that for a same-tonnage aircraft carrier with the ski-jump take-off method, and China’s assessment result showed that an aircraft carrier’s combat power will be increased by four times if the catapult-assisted take-off technology is adopted.

Adopting catapult-assisted take-off technology is an inevitable trend in aircraft carriers’ future development and there are no technical problems for China to adopt the technology, according to Yin Zhuo, a Chinese military expert.

Why does China still adopt the ski-jump take-off method for its newly-built aircraft carrier? Yin Zhuo replied that it is reasonable to build another carrier with the ski-jump take-off technology by drawing upon the experience of the aircraft carrier Liaoning first and then build larger and more advanced carriers with the catapult-assisted take-off technology.

The new carrier with a larger tonnage than that of the aircraft carrier Liaoning has adopted advanced ship-building concepts, greatly improving living conditions of personnel on the carrier and carrying more aviation fuel as well as equipment and weapons, Yin Zhuo introduced.

Adopting conventionally powered technology for the new carrier is technically a safer way, said Li Li, a Chinese military expert.

Among all the warships of Chinese PLA Navy, the nuclear-powered technology is only used for some submarines, and whether the nuclear-powered engine for submarines can provide enough power for aircraft carriers is now still at the assessment stage, Li Li introduced.

The problem of the insufficient power for French’s aircraft carrier De Gaulle is caused by its direct installation of multiple submarine nuclear-powered engines, and many theoretically possible schemes have to be verified through progressive practical application, Li Li analyzed. This is an important reason for China to adopt the conventionally powered technology for its first independently-built carrier, Li Li concluded.

China is now building its second carrier and also possibly the third one. The new carrier’s contour could be seen, and its eighth section was already assembled with a hangar component. It would be certainly launched in the middle of 2016 based on its current building progress, according to foreign media.

It will take about three years to build a 50,000 ton-class carrier according to the experience in foreign countries. But it will take a long time for a carrier to possess its real combat power after its launching, Li Li said.

There are still a large amount of work to do at the carrier’s outfitting stage after its launching, it will take about two years to carry out functional debugging for its devices as well as weapons and equipment, and it will take additional one year to complete the outfitting work before its sea trial, Li Li continued.

Many foreign media and netizens mistakenly deem carrier’s launching as its delivery, but actually it will still take extra two to three years to complete all the necessary work for its delivery after its launching, Li Li added.

Li Li held that the aircraft carrier Liaoning has been in service for three years after its commissioning. By relying on the exploration and large amounts of tests during the three-year service of the aircraft carrier Liaoning, China has possessed the capability of exploring to build higher-end carriers based on the new carrier with the same tonnage, which is also a more economical way, Li Li analyzed.

Considering the long period in carriers’ development, many pre-set schemes may possibly become obsolete if the way of building one carrier after another is adopted, Li Li explained. Therefore, it is possible that two carriers are being built at the same time, Li Li estimated.

Source: People’s Daily Online. The opinions expressed here don't represent views of China Military Online website.

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