Shandong Carrier Battle Group

People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) plans to set up several carrier battle groups in the future. At present China’s only aircraft carrier, the CNS Liaoning, uses Type 052C or Type 052D destroyers for air defense, Type 054A frigates for anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, 1–2 Type 093 Shang nuclear submarines, and 1 Type 901 supply ship. People’s Liberation Army Navy launched its second carrier, Shandong, in April 2017, with the ship entering service in December 2019. China is also building a new larger type of air defense destroyers, the Type 055.

Shandong Carrier Battle Group
Shandong Carrier Battle Group

Shandong is a first-generation Chinese aircraft carrier that was launched on 26 April 2017 for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It is the country’s second aircraft carrier after the completion of Liaoning, and the first built domestically. Shandong was initially designated as a Type 001A air carrier during development but was finalized as Type 002 at commissioning. Shandong was constructed by the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry, part of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, in Dalian, Liaoning province, China.
Shandong Carrier Battle Group
Shandong Carrier Battle Group

The aircraft carrier’s design is largely based on China’s first carrier Liaoning, which was itself built from the partially-complete hull of the Soviet Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier Varyag. It retains the ski jump takeoff, which limits its air wing to helicopters and Shenyang J-15 fighter jets, and the ship is powered by conventional oil-fired boilers driving eight steam turbines derived from the Soviet-designed examples installed on Liaoning. It measures about 315 metres (1,033 ft) long, with a displacement of about 55,000 tonnes (70,000 loaded). It has increased storage for ammunition and fuel, with a larger aircraft capacity of 44 aircraft, eight more than Liaoning.
Shandong Carrier Battle Group
Shandong Carrier Battle Group

Shandong has a broader flight deck but a shorter island superstructure than Liaoning to give more space for aircraft movements. The island also has redesigned radars and a new bridge, while the fleet command and flight control tower are on separate floors for more efficiency. It includes an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system. The Shandong, like its predecessor, uses the simpler Short Take-off Barrier-arrested Recovery (STOBAR) launch and recovery system. Future carriers, such as the Type 003 aircraft carrier, are planned to use an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) that allows the launch of heavier and more advanced aircraft such as the Shenyang J-31 or the Chengdu J-20.

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