By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer
China’s first domestically built carrier, “Type 001A”, is making brisk progress in its Dalian drydock. Tracing its design to the Soviet Admiral Kuznetsov class of aircraft carriers, the Type 001A will displace around 60,000-70,000 tons, is powered by steam turbines, and will carry between 30 and 40 helicopters and J-15 fighter jets. Type 001A first began construction in late 2014, and is expected to be launched in 2017, with commissioning in 2019-2020 time frame. Since the beginning of the year, many modules have been assembled, including the below-deck hangar bay, openings for aircraft elevators, and in new photos, the ship’s ski jump soon to be welded to the carrier’s front.
Short Takeoff But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) type aircraft carriers differ from aircraft carriers like the USN’s Nimitz class (which uses catapults to boost aircraft into the skies) in that they use a ski ramp mounted at the aircraft carrier’s front to set the launching aircraft at an forward and upwards trajectory. The Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, uses ski ramps to launch its J-15 jet fighters. Read more