BEIJING – The Type 001A will carry up to 36 J-15 fighters. The ship can carry 12 more fighters than Liaoning, the country’s first aircraft carrier.
The vessel is the first aircraft carrier built entirely in China. For now, it is called Type 001A, as the Chinese Navy has traditionally made public the names of its ships only after commissioning. The first ship of its kind in the country is the Soviet-made Liaoning and later modified.
Initially, the Type 001A would support 32 fourth-generation J-15 fighters . However, experts have concluded that the ship would need to have more fighters to ensure air superiority in combat, said the naval expert Lie Jie in an interview with Global Times.
Type 001A, although generally similar to its predecessor Liaoning, has some differences. Its deck is larger and can carry a larger number of aircraft.
The Chinese ship mirrors the development of the Asian giant in the naval sector. Beijing has already revealed that it intends to create an aircraft carrier fleet similar to the US.
The chairman of China Shipbuilding Industry Coorporation commented on his country’s new capabilities to local media.
“Whatever kind of aircraft carrier our country wants to develop in the future, we can do it on our own,” Hu said.
The new Chinese aircraft carrier was built in 2 years and 2 months. Launched overboard in 2017, the vessel has undergone several tests before going into full operation.
While the fleet of four aircraft carriers by 2025 is already a daunting prospect for the United States and its Asian allies, that number could increase to seven.
With more aircraft carriers, Beijing could match US naval forces in the waters near China. Washington currently has 20 such vessels, 11 of which are overweight aircraft carriers and 9 are amphibious assault ships.
In addition to heavy aircraft carriers, the Chinese Navy has also begun building three amphibious assault ships – 40,000-ton warships about the same size as the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, The Diplomat claimed. These ships are very similar to the US Navy and Wasp class amphibious assault ships, military analyst Abraham Ait said in the article.