Running on E? China's Second Aircraft Carrier May Experience Fuel Constraints
Needing to store roughly 13,000 metric tons of fuel for its operations, China's second aircraft carrier is likely to experience fuel supply issues once it's sent out on official business as part of the People's Liberation Army-Navy.
The Asia Times reported that the Type 001A carrier will be required to replenish its fuel whenever it consumes a third of its tank, which suggests that the carrier will only be able to go six days before needing to be topped off with its next hit of marine fuel.
Figures provided by the outlet note that the carrier consumes roughly 1,100 tons of fuel every day when traveling at 20 knots, using up a whopping 1,500 tons during active combat operations.
And it's not just fuel for the vessel that officials will need to be concerned about. According to the publication, the carrier will also need to store enough fuel to cover the needs of the dozens of fourth-generation Shenyang J-15 fighter jets aboard the deck.
The aircraft carrier, which is currently in its final stages of sea trials, is said to be undergoing tests along the northern portion of the Yellow Sea. Having already tested out the vessel's avionics, radar and communication systems, experts have indicated that the latest trials may focus more on aircraft takeoffs and landings, Navy Recognitition noted.
Earlier this year, China's state broadcaster CCTV aired footage offering a peek at the inner workings of the vessel, showing off the homegrown carrier's ski-jump flight deck, bulbous bow and weapons systems.
According to the Times, China's second aircraft carrier will be assigned to patrol the South China Sea, much of which Beijing has claimed as its sovereign territory.
The hotly contested waters have long been a thorn in the side of US-China relations, with Washington repeatedly condemning Beijing for placing weapons on artificial islands. The two countries have also butted heads over the US' continued freedom of navigation operations in the area.
China's lone active aircraft carrier is the Liaoning, a Soviet Kuznetsov-class vessel that China acquired from Ukraine in 1998.
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