Military


CVA 002 aircraft carrier

The Type 002 aircraft carrier will be China's first big deck carrier, "with Chinese characteristics". The design of this as yet unseen carrier is something of a puzzle. The open literature strongly suggests that it will feature catapult-assisted takeoff, but will not be nuclear powered. China does not have a strong technological base for steam marine propulsion, an thus would lack a source of steam for the catapults.

The Type 002 carriers seem intended for two main purposes: at-sea demonstration of Electromagnetic Launch (EML) catapult technology, and training large numberes of pilots in the tricky task of landing on an aircraft carrier [Air Force pilots practice flying the plane, Navy pilots practice landing the plane]. Absent nuclear power, the Type 002 might not have enough electrical power for freqent EML launches, but it should suffice to get enough planes in the air for training [once airborne, the planes could do multiple touch-and-go landings before running out of fuel].

China is reportedly planning to produce two Type 002 carriers; the first is slated to be comissioned in 2021. The carriers are anticipated to have a displacement in the range of 85,000 tons each, making them the biggest Chinese carriers to date. Liaoning is only about 55,000 tons, while the Type 001A is about 70,000 tons. It is said they will be built at the Jiangnan Changxing Shipbuilding factory near Shanghai, the world's largest shipyard. But the Chinese authorities have not yet confirmed the project, and there had been no visible evidence of the construction process by early 2017.

The Type 002 configuration would for the first time be catapult-assisted takeoff but arrested recovery (CATOBAR), while the first two carriers were short takeoff but arrested recovery carrier (STOBAR). For the Chinese navy this is a new subject, the Liaoning ship and 001A-type experience provide no reference. For China to "develop by leaps and bounds" for the 002 type to become fully combat effective, two or three years time would be necessary, after 2025.

The reputable Kanwa Asian Defence, an English-language monthly defense review produced in Toronto, reported in October 2014 that Shanghai's Jiangnan Shipyard was preparing to start work on a new carrier. According to Internet reports, the first Type 002 was laid down in mid 2015, when construction started in Jiangnan Shipyard. It is estimated that it would be delivered to the Chinese navy around 2020. Type 002 is likely to have a flight deck that uses catapult takeoff, possibly steam ejection, or more probably, electromagnetic ejection, which requires more electric power. If the Type 002 aircraft carriers did not use electromagnetic launch, then the electromagnetic launch would be used on the Type 003, and the carrier will also carry stealth aircraft.

As of 2017 China was building, in addition to serving 001 Liaoning ship, another two aircraft carriers. The two aircraft carriers under construction were the 001A and type 002. The building process of 001A had entered the final stage of the trial, to be launched in the first half of 2017. Type 001A is improved on the basis of the ship in Liaoning, but the aircraft still use the ski jump takeoff.

Project 1143.7 Ulyanovsk - not Type 002




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