China launched its first domestically constructed aircraft carrier, the Type 001A, on Wednesday morning at the Dalian shipyard in northeast China’s Liaoning Province.
Here is what the Chinese media reported about the still unnamed aircraft carrier.
- When: On April 25, China launched its new carrier from the shipyard of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corp (CSIC). The ceremony took place three days after the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Navy in 1949. Development of the new aircraft carrier began in 2013. It’s expected to be formally commissioned sometime before 2020, after sea trials and the arrival of its air wing.
- Where: China built the new carrier in the Dalian Shipyard in Liaoning province. The South China Morning Post reports the carrier will dock at the Qingdao carrier base in Shandong Province, which is close to the Dalian shipyard.
- Size and speed: According to Global Times, the Type 001A is 315 meters (1033 feet) long, 75 meters (246 feet) wide, with a displacement of around 50,000 tons and has a cruising speed of 31 knots (57 km/h, 36 m/h). It will carry China’s J-15 carrier-based, multi-role combat aircraft.
- Who: Vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission and Communist Party Central Committee, Fan Changlong, presided over the launch.
- How: A band played China’s national anthem. Nearby ships blasted their steam whistles. Officials cut a ribbon, and observing a longstanding naval tradition, broke a bottle of champagne across the ship’s bow.
- Propeller: The new carrier is based on the Soviet Kuznetsov class design, with a ski jump-style deck for launching aircraft from a shorter deck than the ones on U.S. carriers. The Chinese ship has a conventional oil-fueled steam turbine power plant.
- It is China’s second aircraft carrier, but the first one locally built. China’s first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, was re-fitted from a Soviet-era aircraft cruiser, the Riga, first launched in 1988. Two years later, the Soviet Navy renamed it the Varyag. Its first sea trial took place in 2011. In September 2012, the People’s Liberation Army Navy commissioned the ship—renaming it the Liaoning. China declared combat ready in November 2016.
- China joins and elite club: one of just seven countries that can build their own aircraft carriers—including U.S., Russia, Britain, France, Italy and Spain.
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