China's second aircraft carrier "Type 001A" could carry at least 36 domestically developed J-15 fighter jets along with helicopters, Chinese state media reported Tuesday.
The Type 001A can thus carry over 12 additional aircraft in comparison to the first carrier “Liaoning.” Liaoning can house 24 J-15 jets.
In contrast, America’s Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier can carry over 75 aircraft, which is double the capacity of China’s Type 001A. Vessels of this class are set to replace the Nimitz-class ships that could carry 60 aircraft in all.
The new Chinese carrier was built and launched in 26 months, which is nearly half the time taken for a foreign vessel of similar type to be constructed, CCTV reported.
Speaking about the Beijing’s second aircraft carrier with Global Times, Lie Jie, a naval expert, said that the ship “has an optimized flight deck, reduced weapon areas and a smaller superstructure with added deck areas.”
“It also has an enlarged hanger, but reduced space for missile storage compared to the Liaoning, allowing the new carrier to carry 50 percent more J-15 fighter jets,” Jie noted.
The expert added that 24 J-15s of the Liaoning could be a limit factor as a regional combat might require about 40 aircraft in order to seize air supremacy. The 36 fighter jets on the Type 001A would greatly expand its combat capability, he said.
The vessel is now reportedly undergoing its seventh sea trial, after setting sail on August 1. “The latest, lengthy sea trial could be in preparation for its final delivery to the Chinese Navy,” Jie said.