China’s first indigenously built aircraft carrier, the “Type 001A” is likely to be inducted into People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) by the end of 2019, Chinese media reported.
The 65,000 tonne carrier will be country’s second carrier to be commissioned to service after the 58,000 tonne Liaoning. The vessel can reportedly house about 36 J-15 fighter jets, and additional 14 helicopters.
The Type 001A was launched in April 2017. It has since undergone at least seven rounds of sea trials, in the Yellow Sea off north-eastern China, indicating that the ship’s official enrolment into services is around the corner.
“The new ship is also expected to have more advanced technologies than its sister aircraft Liaoning, such as powerful steam turbines and an improved hangar layout,” Hu Wenming, president of the state-owned China Shipbuilding Industry Corp which is tasked with building the carrier, told CCTV.
Both the Liaoning and the Type 001A have ski jumps on their bows that help fixed-wing aircraft get airborne.
The warship is said to have already successfully tested radar and communication systems in previous trials. Fighter jets conducted take offs and landings during last few tests. Electronic Warfare version of the J-15 warplane and a Z-18 helicopter were spotted on board the Type 001A as it embarked on the sea trial in March, after which, the carrier stayed at in the Dalian Shipyard and underwent outfitting works including flight deck painting and conducted a replenishment drill within the shipyard with the supply ship Hulunhu in late April.