Popular Science’s article “China’s new aircraft carrier hints at the future of its navy” says China’s third homegrown aircraft carrier will be a 90,000 to 100,000-ton nuclear one with electromagnetic catapult that enables it to carry 70-100 stealth fighter jets, AEW&C aircrafts and aerial tanker with maximum takeoff weight of 50 tons and helicopters.
The following is the full text of the article:
China’s new aircraft carrier hints at the future of its navy
The Liaoning carried at least three helicopters, eight fighters, three destroyers, two frigates, and a refueling ship.
By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer January 13, 2017
Last month China reported that its aircraft carrier Liaoning was ready to start operational service. The country’s navy provided proof on Christmas Day, sending out its first carrier battle group (CVBG) through the Miyako Straits, around Taiwan, and into the South China Sea, launching and recovering aircraft along the way.
Looking ahead to 2030, the next Chinese carrier will likely look very similar to the Liaoning CVBG, with updated destroyers and frigates that provide a more advanced layered defense and missile strike system. It will likely be accompanied by an arsenal of drones.
And then come the nuclear-powered carriers of the Type 003 Chinese aircraft carrier. The Type 003 itself would likely have a displacement of around 90,000-100,000 tons and carry anywhere from between 70-100 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, and have multiple aircraft elevators and a single island superstructure. With a nuclear-powered reactor, the Type 003 could reach speeds in excess of 30 knots. The reactors could also provide the power for electromagnetically assisted launch system (EMALS) catapults (the preceding conventional Type 002 carrier may use steam catapults). EMALS catapults have improved efficiency and are less maintenance intensive than steam catapults.
The air group will likely still use J-15 fighters for multi-role purposes, along with an electronic warfare mission variant. For dedicated air superiority mission, the air group could also have fifth-generation stealth fighters, most likely navalized versions of either the J-31 or even the J20. The EMALS catapult could allow the Type 003 to launch aircraft with a takeoff weight of up to 50 tons, including aerial tankers, airborne early warning aircraft (especially useful to guiding long range missiles against distant aircraft), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) planes, smaller cargo planes and strike aircraft. Given Chinese interest in unmanned vehicles, the Type 003 could come with a UAV for surveillance and reconnaissance. The Type 003’s air group will also have helicopters for ASW and search and rescue missions.
The CVBG’s escort elements will likely consist of Type 055 destroyers and a future Chinese frigate (Type 057?) with an integrated mast. The improved Type 055, upgraded from the current hulls under construction, would have integrated electric propulsion system to increase onboard power generation for sensors and direct energy weapons. It will likely also be armed with over a hundred long-range anti-air and surface attack missiles, in addition to carrying helicopters. Given Chinese interest in unmanned naval vehicles, those surface combatants would likely carry UAVs, UUVs, and USVs for mine countermeasure. For underwater escort, the accompanying submarine would likely be a Type 095 nuclear attack submarine, stealthier and more heavily armed than current Chinese attack boats.
Depending on the CVBG mission profile, amphibious warfare ships like the Type 071 landing platform dock and landing helicopter docks be deployed to help disembark Chinese marines and air cavalry forces.
Years of operational experience are still needed to make the Liaoning, and the rest of the PLAN, ready for combat and other intensive carrier operations. But the PLA is now off to an important start with the Liaoning, and they have bigger plans for the future.
Source: Popular Science “China’s new aircraft carrier hints at the future of its navy”
Note: This is Popular Science’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
According to Russian military observation website, China is producing J-20 faster than US F-35B and F-35C to ensure China’s air superiority in long- and super long-range air battles.
A regiment of 30 J-20s is enough to quickly and effectively intercept US early warning and manned and unmanned reconnaissance aircrafts, turning US military blind in areas near China.
With the production capacity of making 36 J-20s a year, China will have a regiment of J-20s by mid 2018.
In addition, 2 J-20 regiment (60 planes) plus dozens of DF-21D are enough to drive away US and Japanese navies. The US may develop better missiles to intercept DF-21D and even DF-26 as US AN/SPY-1A/D multi-function radar can detect the ballistic missiles. However US radar cannot detect a fleet of 10 J-20s conducting stealth attack at US navy with their radars turned off. The 20 YJ-91 supersonic anti-ship missiles carried by those J-20s are enough to sink a US aircraft carrier.
China is now developing hypersonic microwave electromagnetic warheads and stealth warheads even more difficult to intercept. China will have 500 J-20s by 2026, which will enable it to have advantages over others’ navy in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Russian media: US aircraft carrier battle group doomed facing fleet of J-20s” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Mil.news.sina.com.cn says in its report yesterday that as the hull has been built. all the prefabricated modules, installed and the bottom is being painted, China’s first homegrown aircraft carrier may be launched next month. According to US experience, outfitting takes half of the duration of the construction up to launch, which is three years for the carrier, the carrier will be commissioned in the later half of 2018.
Source: mil.news.sina.com.cn “China’s first homegrown aircraft carrier will perhaps be launched in December: Will the next one use electromagnetic catapult” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
In its Situation Report, Foreign Policy says that it was surprised by China’s announcement yesterday that its aircraft carrier is ready for combat. So was Washington Post in its report yesterday.
In fact, China has not directly made such an announcement. Foreign Policy says China has made such an announcement based on the report on Global Times’ interview with the carrier’s political commissar Li Dongyou, who said in the interview that the ship is “constantly prepared to fight against enemies.”
The US must be surprised because China previously described the Liaoning carrier as a platform for testing and training. US military experts predicted lots of China’s problems in producing carrier-based fighter jets, training pilots for the jets, etc. Even the arrest cable for landing of the fighter jets may be a serious headache.
That is why both Foreign Policy and Washington Post regard Li’s words as surprise announcement in their reports.
Surprise is natural as the US always underestimates China’s ability. However both media are wrong in predicting that the carrier will be used “to reinforce” (Washington Post’s wording) or in “underscoreing” (Foreign Policy’s wording) China’s claims in the South China Sea challenged by U.S. Navy and others.
The Liaoning deploys only 24 J-15s that will not be fully armed due to sky-jump takeoff. The three airports on China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea may accommodate at least 12 dozens of J-20 heavy stealth fighter jets there with much greater fire power. Moreover, China will soon deploy its J-10C stealth fighter jets with entirely new stealth technology completely different from US one.
J-10C instead of J-15 will be able to win dogfight against US F-22 due to its super maneuverability.
Dogfight capability is not necessary for a stealth fighter jet in dealing with a non-stealth one, but is indispensable for a stealth fighter jet in fighting another stealth fighter jet. As F-35 is not designed for fighting a stealth fighter and is a lighter warplane unable to carry better radar, it is utterly no rival to China’s J-20 and J-10C. Only F-22 may be able to contend with J-20 and J-10C, but without ground support near China, it has great disadvantage.
Since China has built three large unsinkable fixed aircraft carriers on its artificial islands in the South China Sea, it needs no aircraft carriers there, especially the Liaoning that is much inferior to US ones.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Policy and Washington Post’s reports, full text of which can be viewed respectively at https://mail.google.com/mail/#inbox/1586822dc8796243 and https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-says-aircraft-carrier-now-ready-for-combat/2016/11/15/748addc8-aaf4-11e6-8f19-21a1c65d2043_story.html
In its report titled “China finishes hull of first domestically built aircraft carrier” on October 28, SCMP says, “China has completed assembly of its first domestically made aircraft carrier and design work on the vessel was finished, the defence ministry said on Thursday. Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said workers were also installing equipment on the carrier, without giving further details.”
Wu meant that while building the hull, workers were installing equipment in the hull. If so, it will take less time to finish the entire aircraft carrier.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2040712/china-finishes-hull-first-domestically-built-aircraft
Richard D Fisher Jr, Washington DC and Gabriel Dominguez, London and Sean O’Connor, Indianapolis – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
21 September 2016
China has been flight testing a new variant of its J-15 navalised fighter modified for catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) operations, according to images posted on Chinese online forums.
Released on 15 September, the images show a Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-15 in flight featuring what appear to be modifications to its front undercarriage that would enable the aircraft to conduct catapult-assisted take-offs: yet another indication that China may be planning to develop a CATOBAR aircraft carrier.
Expectations that China’s third carrier, which is commonly referred to as the Type 002, will be equipped with catapults were reinforced in early August when images emerged on Chinese online forums showing the country’s land-based aircraft carrier mock-up in Wuhan, Hubei Province, undergoing modifications.
Most significantly, the ski-jump section had been removed from the mock-up.
Construction of China’s third carrier is expected to take place at the Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard near Shanghai. So far there has been no official confirmation of the programme, nor visible evidence of the construction, but there has been considerable speculation that production of the initial modules is already in progress.
Airbus Defence and Space imagery captured on 20 June 2016 already showed that significant progress was being made on two land-based catapult tracks for testing and training.
Constructed at the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) carrier air wing training facility at Huangdicun Airbase, the two tracks consist of a steam-powered track and an electromagnetic catapult track placed at the northeastern end of a new runway under construction. Installation of both suggests that a final decision on which system to adopt may not yet have been taken.
Source: IHS 360 Jane’s “China flight testing modified J-15 for CATOBAR operations”
Note: This is IHS 360 Jane’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
The above are photos of a new prototype of China’s J-15 carrier-based fighter jet. Taiwan’s major media chinatimes.com believes that it is the prototype of catapult-launched carrier-based J-15 fighter jet as the landing gear is strengthened for catapult assisted takeoff.
Source: huanqiu.com “Taiwan media: Disclosure of Mainland’s catapult-launched J-15, but perhaps not for China’s first homegrown aircraft carrier” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)