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NEWCON Aircraft Carrier - What Size?

Aircraft carriers can be divided into three types according to their size. Supercarriers are the largest type of aircraft carrier, usually displacing over 60,000 tons, represented by the US Navy's Nimitz-class. Carriers with a displacement of 30,000 to 40,000 tons are standard carriers, while light carriers are usually less than 30,000 tons. China's first domestic carrier, like the Liaoning, might be standard in size.

According to one Russian report, China planned to build an aircraft carrier with a displacement of between 40,000 to 60,000 tons. The feasibility study and draft design of China's aircraft carrier started in 1992. According to Russian sources, China began work on its own carrier in 1999 at Shanghai Shipyard. This carrier, code named "9985 plan" or "Project 9935," would have a 48,000 ton displacement, capable of carrying 30-40 fighter jets, most of which would be multi-functional SU-30MKK jets bought from Russia. The first carrier of purely Chinese design, the ship could have a built-in vertical anti-air and anti-ship missile launching system. China had reportedly started work on naval bases and harbors in Shanghai, Zanjiang and Dalian to improve docking facilities for this carrier.

The proposed Chinese aircraft carrier could be a vessel of 40,000-50,000 tons of displacement, one similar to the French De Gaulle-Class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Given the complexities of developing a new naval reactor considerably larger than the type used on PRC nuclear submarines and that a very long range was not required, conventional steam boilers would be adequate for a Chinese aircraft carrier. Russian designed steam turbines could give the carrier a top speed of 30 knots. The vessels might carry 24 combat aircraft, such as the Sukhoi-30MKK launched by a ski-jump. Below deck might be two missile launchers housing 24 missiles, either the Russian SSN-22 Sunburn or the more advanced Yakhont. China was also reported to be working on a land-attack cruise missile to be mounted on the vessel. China would probably build a carrier at the Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard.

On 28 June 2005 China's www.Boxun.com reported that China will begin to build its first aircraft carrier, with a displacement of 78,000 tons, will be built by the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai. This was denied by Zhan Guangqin, deputy chief of China's Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense. The unconfirmed report quoted an unnamed engineer at the shipyard as saying that Russian experts will help with the fitting of a steam-turbine propeller that will give the vessel a top speed of 32 knots.

China is designing and building its second aircraft carrier "completely on its own" in Dalian in northeastern Liaoning Province, a Defense Ministry spokesperson confirmed 31 December 2015. This carrier, with a displacement of 50,000 tonnes.

It is not clear whether the "50,000 tonnes" displacement is light or loaded. If the former, it implies a ship somewhat larger than the 42,000 ton French Charles de Gaulle, which is 858 feet long. If the stated displacement is the light displacement, a common practice among Asian navies, then the new Chinese carrier would be slightly smaller than the old American CV-59 Forrestal class, which was 56,000 tons light and 79,300 tons full loaded. The length of the Forrestal units ranged from 1,063 feet to 1,086 feet.

China's existing carrier, the Liaoning [ex-Varyag] is variously reported to have a full displacement of 58,500-65,000 tons and a standard displacement of 54,000-55,000 tons. The former Soviet ship has an overall length of 300-304.8 [330?] meters / 992-1000 feet.

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Page last modified: 17-08-2016 17:27:03 ZULU