I. The Big Story: China’s Second Aircraft Carrier
China commissioned its first home-built aircraft carrier last week. The new warship, which was previously known as the Type 001A, will now be called the Shandong. President Xi Jinping attended the commissioning ceremony of the vessel. The vessel set out for its first sea-trials in May 2018 and was expected to be commissioned in April 2019. But due to technical problems, the trial phase took longer than expected.
CNS Shandong is China’s second aircraft carrier. It’s both heavier and larger than its first carrier, the Liaoning. It has a displacement range of 66,000 to 70,000 tonnes, a few more thousand tonnes than the Liaoning. Its air wing is expected to be slightly larger, featuring around 8 additional aircraft. The Shandong is limited to six days at sea before refuelling, which is similar to the Liaoning. The ship will be able to carry 36 J-15 fighter jets compared with the Liaoning’s capacity of 24. The carrier was constructed by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry in Liaoning province. The company started work on the vessel in November 2013 and laid down the keel for its hull in a dry dock in March 2015.