China is building its second aircraft carrier with domestic technology in northeastern Liaoning Province, a Defense Ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.
“The aircraft is being designed by China independently, and is being constructed in Dalian. It will have a displacement of 50,000 tons, and will be conventionally powered,” Yang Yujun, the spokesperson told a monthly press briefing.
The yet-to-be-named vessel will carry J-15 fighter-bombers and other types of aircrafts including a fixed-wing aircraft. They will use a ‘ski-jump’ on the carrier to take off, Yang further explained.
China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is a refitted Russian-made carrier delivered to the Chinese Navy on September 25, 2012. It is a second-hand Soviet ship built more than 25 years ago.
For the construction of the second carrier, Yang said it has drawn on China’s experience refitting its first carrier “with new improvements in various aspects.”
As for when the second carrier would enter service, Yang said that it depends on progress in the design process.
The construction of the new carrier follows an extended period of tensions between China and other powers including Japan, the U.S. and the Philippines over disputed territories in the East and South China seas.
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The U.S. officially operates 10 aircraft carriers plus another nine ships that could be referred to as aircraft carriers if they served in any other navy, according to The Diplomat. While Japan took delivery of a “helicopter carrier” in March 2015 which has been described as an “Aircraft Carrier in Disguise” as in theory it could carry over twenty aircrafts.
Yang said that maritime security concern is one of the major reasons for China to commission the second carrier.
“China has a long coastline and a vast area of jurisdictional sea. It’s our forces’ duty to safeguard the nation’s maritime safety and interests.”