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Type 001A Shandong

China's second aircraft carrier was transferred from dry dock into the water at a launch ceremony in Dalian shipyard of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. in Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province, at a launch ceremony, starting about 9 am April 26, 2017. The new carrier, the first domestically-built one, came after the Liaoning, a refitted former Soviet Union-made carrier that was put into commission in the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army in 2012. The ceremony was attended by Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, as well as leaders of the PLA Navy and China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation.

China had been expected to launch its first domestically built aircraft carrier on the 68th anniversary of the founding of the PLA Navy ­ on Sunday 23 April 2017. But it was reported that tidal conditions were not conducive for a launch to mark the navy’s birthday, and the ceremony was expected to take place in the next few days. China's first homegrown aircraft carrier was floated to a dry dock 25 April 2017, signaling that its official launch was fast approaching.

China was close to completing its second aircraft carrier, which will begin service by 2020, experts said 21 February 2017. China Central Television (CCTV) reported that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's Type 001A class aircraft carrier's scaffold had been removed and red undercoat has been painted below the ship's waterline in Dalian, northeastern Liaoning Province, and that a launching ceremony will soon be held.

In the 30 March 2017 meeting of the Ministry of Defense at a regular press conference, a reporter asked: "The progress of domestic aircraft carrier is of much concern, and there is news that the domestic aircraft carrier will be launched on April 23. Can you confirm this?." China's Ministry of Defense spokesman said:" The domestic aircraft carrier is currently progressing well, and when to test the water, I believe will not let everyone wait!"

Photos of the first Chinese domestic aircraft carrier show it had been painted with red primer, the island had begun to install the glass and the front phased array radar and other equipment. Recent photos showed that the deck had begun to clean up, so it ws thought it would most likely in the near future be in the water. Reported speculation that the date may be the People's Liberation Army Navy foundation day that is, 23 April 2017.

"Unlike the Liaoning(Type 001), China's first aircraft carrier, a refitted ship built by Ukraine (under the former Soviet Union), the 001A is China-built, and its design, combat capability and technologies will be much more advanced," Song Zhongping, a military expert, told the Global Times.

On 31 December 2015 the Chinese defense ministry formally announced the construction of the 001A, and another spokesperson Yang Yujun said, "This carrier, with a displacement of 50,000 tons, will be the base for J-15 fighters and other types of aircraft." The design and construction of the second aircraft carrier is based on experience, research and training from the first carrier, the Liaoning, Yang added.

The US Defense Department reported in early 2009 that "Analysts in and out of government project that China will not have an operational, domestically-produced carrier and associated ships before 2015. However, changes in China's shipbuilding capability and degree of foreign assistance to the program could alter those projections. The PLA Navy is considering building multiple carriers by 2020."

The US Department of Defense reported on 06 May 2013 that "China also continues to pursue an indigenous aircraft carrier program ... and will likely build multiple aircraft carriers over the next decade. The first Chinese-built carrier will likely be operational sometime in the second half of this decade.... China will probably build several aircraft carriers over the next 15 years."

The 2016 Annual Report to Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China reported that "In 2015, China began construction of its first domestically produced aircraft carrier."

Type 001A Shandong Program

Construction of Shandong, named after a province in China's east coast, began in 2014. The Press Trust of India website reported that China is building a second aircraft carrier, expected to be completed in the first half of 2017, and officially joined the Navy in 2019. China's second aircraft carrier is likely to be deployed to somewhere in the South China Sea, in response to the "complex situation." The new carrier "with Chinese characteristics" places a considerable degree of improvement and improvement of the future combat capability. Chinese soures claim it is definitely a huge upgrade overt the Liaoning ship. After all, the Liaoning ship was from the last century, and now the level of design already exists a world of difference.

Taiwan, "Central News Agency" reported on 27 January 2017, that "Chinese Defense Review," said the Navy 001A aircraft carrier being built in China should be launched in the second quarter of 2017. It published in the report pictures of the aircraft carrier, and this was by far the most clear details of the aircraft carrier 001A picture.

The ship is in the Dalian, Liaoning shipyard manufacturing ways. In accordance with the construction schedule, 001A should be launched in the second quarter of 2017, into the mechanical, electrical, electronic equipment installation phase. After about more than two years time, by 2019 the aircraft carrier will enter the sea test.

Therefore, by 2020, the Chinese navy could have two aircraft carrier battle groups. Each battle group is expected to have a sliding-type aircraft carrier, 1-2 055-ton destroyers, 3-4 052D-based multi-purpose air defense destroyer, two about 093 (B) nuclear power tactical Nuclear submarine (095-type probability is relatively small). According to the needs of the task, there may also be a number of 054A (B) frigates, 071 (modified) type integrated landing ship (075 amphibious assault ship appears less likely). Imagine, with about 50 of the J-15 (change) under the cover of heavy-duty carrier-based fighter, two aircraft carrier battle groups will be able to produce a kind of deterrent.

Commenting on the new aircraft carrier's potential role in the Chinese Navy, Russian military observer Vasily Kashin explained 26 April 2017 that the new vessel was part of just the first stage in the People's Liberation Navy's carrier development plans. "The Chinese carrier program will likely develop in two stages," the expert noted. "In the first stage, China is striving to build three aircraft carriers (including the already-commissioned Liaoning), which are a development on the Soviet Union's Project 1143.6. These will be ships with non-nuclear power plants, and a springboard take-off system for its aircraft, although the third of the ships is likely to also be equipped with a steam catapult." Kashin estimated that the first Chinese-built Type 001A carrier, launched Wednesday, will be commissioned around the year 2020. "The second 'fully Chinese' aircraft carrier is currently being built in Shanghai. When completed and commissioned, China will be able to provide each of its three fleet commands, the North Sea Fleet, the East Sea Fleet and the South Sea Fleet, with an aircraft carrier."

Kashin recalled that "often times in the media, one finds pejorative assessments of Chinese aircraft carriers of the 'Soviet' type, which, it is said, are technically imperfect, and carry a small amount of aircraft," particularly compared to their US counterparts. "These assessments are not entirely justified. It is important to understand the military tasks which such carriers are being created to solve."

"Unlike US nuclear-powered carriers, Soviet aircraft-carrying ships from Project 1143, including the sole Russian aircraft carrier – the Admiral Kuznetsov, were not designed with global power projection capabilities in mind. The Admiral Kuznetsov participated in the Russian military operation in Syria, demonstrating that it is capable of handling such tasks, but also that it is not ideally suited for them."

Soviet carriers, Kashin noted, were designed "to provide the Soviet fleet with naval superiority in strategically important areas around the USSR itself." The carriers helped to protect patrolling nuclear missile submarines, and to defend the country's costs.

"The first three Chinese aircraft carriers will be tasked with solving similar problems" in the Chinese Navy's East, South and North Sea Fleets. "This will allow the Navy to deploy its submarine forces at an early stage in a potential conflict, will provide the opportunity to monitor the movement of enemy surface ships, and effectively use coastal aviation and ballistic anti-ship missiles in the first hours of war. The presence of a carrier in the South China Sea will make it difficult to make a preemptive strike against the Chinese nuclear missile submarines located there."

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