China commissions its second aircraft carrier

The PLAN aircraft carrier Shandong.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has confirmed that they received and commissioned their second aircraft carrier on 17 December 2019 in ceremonies held in Sanya-Yulin Naval Base in Hainan Island.

The ship, the first Type 001A-class and was named Shandong (17), was built by Dalian Shipbuilding International Corp. (DSIC) and is the first aircraft carrier domestically built by China. 

It was patterned after the Russian Kuznetsoz-class aircraft carrier design, one of which is in service with the PLAN as the Type 001-class Liaoning.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was present during the ceremonies, handing over the naming certificate and PLA flag to the ship’s captain and political commissar.

The ship is expected to be based on Sanya-Yulin Naval Base which is a major homeport of ships of the PLAN South Sea Fleet in charge of operations in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean.

The Shandong was launched on 26 April 2017, and started sea trials in May 2018. Photos of the ship during construction showed modifications and improvements compared to the Liaoning and the Russian Navy’s aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. 

It displaces at around 65,000 tons, and was built to operate aircraft using the Ski-jump Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR). It is capable of carrying up to 24 Sehnyang J-15 Flying Shark naval fighter aircraft, as well as helicopters like the Harbin Z-9, Changhe Z-18 transport helicopter, and Kamov Ka-31 anti-submarine warfare helicopter.

[1] Jane’s Defense Weekly
[2] The Diplomat

China commissions its second aircraft carrier China commissions its second aircraft carrier Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on December 18, 2019 Rating: 5

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