China launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier on 26 April 2017, transferring the ship from a dry dock into open water in Dalian, a port city in China’s Liaoning Province.
The launch ceremony was held at 9 am in the morning, three days after the 68th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy that was on 23 April 2017.
• The launch ceremony was chaired by Fan Changlong, the Vice-Chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission.
• The carrier, temporarily named Type 001A, is China’s second aircraft carrier after the Liaoning, former Soviet Union made carrier that was refurbished extensively before being commissioned to the PLA Navy in 2012.
• It is slightly larger than the Liaoning.
• While its length is 315 m, its width is 75 m and it has a cruising speed of about 31 knots and a displacement of 70,000 tonnes.
About Type 001A
• China started developing the 50,000-ton carrier in November 2013 and its building process in the dock started in March 2015.
• Though its layout is mostly similar to that of the Liaoning, it features new equipment and a more advanced operational concept including a bigger hangar that has the capacity of holding more J-15 fighter jets.
• It also has enough space on the deck for helicopters and other aircrafts.
• It has however, retained the ski-jump take-off ramp of the Liaoning.
This launch is going to be followed by the launch of China’s next generation aircraft carrier Type 002, which would be sometime around 2021.