Monday, May 25, 2015

Update to the Chinese carrier project

I have not made much updates recently due to travel and busy work schedule, but I did see this picture today which was really interesting. Edited: It turns out the original photo I posted was a CG, so only the one below is real. This one shows 4 10x J-15s on board. We also have photo of 5 J-15s flying together.
106 Apr26
There are various conflicting reports on this particular training exercise, but it seems like CV-16 and escort fleet left early April for the first training exercise of the year and may have spent time in South China Sea before coming back. The J-15s on board CV-16 are from the first production batch numbered 10x. We've seen up to No. 109 in J-15s, so they do have up to 10 production J-15s available to be deployed. The most important part to note here is that they have moved past flight testing with the same 2 or 3 J-15 prototypes.

Again, it took two and half year for PLAN to get to this point with CV-16, so this is still a very deliberate project for them. Based on recent interviews, it looks like they are trying to move forward at a measured pace to avoid any major accidents. As more J-15s are produced, it is interesting to see CV-16 with increasingly crowded flight deck.


G said...

Clearly, J-15 or rather the limited number of production J-15, has been the bottleneck.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Any news on the future carriers? I heard rumours the new carriers would use pebble-bed nuclear reactors that could power electromagnetic catapults, and based on Russian Orel-class.

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willytan1 said...

China currently has the technology to develop a nuclear powered aircraft carrier which utilises steam catapults. The Electromagnetic catapult is still under development and is not yet ready.

The Shanghai Nuclear Engineering R & D Institute has developed a 300MW(CNP300) and a 600MW(CNP600) nuclear reactor which are suitable for powering an aircraft carrier. Interestingly the 300MW reactor is actually the reactor from the Han class nuclear attack submarine. This reactor was used in China's first commercial nuclear power plant built in Qinshan in 1991 and has been operating smoothly ever since. These reactors being originally naval reactors, can easily be modified for use in a aircraft carrier.

China could follow the lay out of the Ulyanovsk class carrier with 4 x 300MW reactors or follow the Americans with 2 x 600MW reactors.

China and Rosatom of Russia are jointly building floating nuclear power plants and this will give some insight into reactor shielding technologies.

The china State Shipbuilding Corp has already developed the technology for steam catapults. Surprisingly back in the 80's, China had already developed steam catapults as part of its early aircraft carrier program initiated by Commander of Plan Liu Huaqing, which was later cancelled.
A full scale steam catapult was built at Lushun naval base and a J-8 fighter was sucessfully launched using the catapult.

There is "talk" that a naval aviation training centre with catapults is planned for Hainan island.

China's version of the Nimitz class is coming soon.