China Commissions its First Domestically-Built Aircraft Carrier

Credit: www.news.cn

Published Dec 17, 2019 6:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

China commissioned CNS Shandong, its second aircraft carrier, on Tuesday.

The ceremony took place in Sanya, Hainan province, with President Xi Jinping handing the military flag to Senior Captain Lai Yijun, her commanding officer. She will be based at a naval port in Sanya in southern China, adjacent to the South China Sea.

Shandong is named after the eastern Chinese province, and she is China's first domestically built aircraft carrier. Construction of Shandong began in 2013 at Dalian Shipbuilding Industry, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corp. She was launched in April 2017 and commenced sea trials in May 2018.

Shandong has a conventional propulsion systems and uses a ramp to launch J-15 fighter jets rather than the catapult system used by the U.S. She also deploys several types of helicopters.

Satellite images indicate that China has already started construction of a third, larger aircraft carrier at Jiangnan shipyard near Shanghai.

Only the U.S., U.K. and Italy also have more than one aircraft carrier in operation. On December 10, the Royal Navy commissioned the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.

General characteristics

Class and type: Type 002-class aircraft carrier
Displacement:     55,000 tons, 70,000 tons full load
Length: 315m (1,033 ft)
Beam: 75m (246 ft)
Propulsion: Conventional steam turbines, four shafts
Speed: 31 knots 
Aircraft carried:    
38 - 40 total aircraft
32 Shenyang J-15
six Changhe Z-18
two Harbin Z-9