With China's growing economy has come a growing military capability and this, in turn, has spurred internal development of many weapon types. No longer content with importing foreign goods to fulfill local solutions, Chinese engineers are heading work in what looks to become promising results. One of the areas that the military seeks to expand is in its ocean-going capabilities and what is needed here are modern aircraft carriers.
During the 1990s, amidst the backdrop of a growing China and a fallen Soviet Union, China purchased the hulk of an ex-Soviet aircraft carrier - a conventionally-powered warship with ski-jump ramp at the bow - from Ukraine. The carrier was rebuilt and repurposed for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and its commissioning coincided with a new naval fighter developed from the Soviet Sukhoi Su-27 "Flanker" series. This aircraft carrier is now serving actively as CNS Liaoning (16).
Going on now (2017) is construction of a new, indigenous aircraft carrier to be named CNS Shandong (17). This warship, also powered by conventional means, will be both larger and heavier than the Liaoning while carrying more combat aircraft. It is estimated to be in the 60,000 to 70,000 ton displacement range and provide support for between 40 and 50 aircraft (including helicopters and drones). In addition to these qualities, the vessel will feature advanced processing systems, sensors, and a radar fit to include the Type 346A series. Lasers may also figure into the self-defense aspects of the ship. There is also talk of a shipborne Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) being prototyped.
Construction on Shandong began in 2015 and the vessel is scheduled to be launched sometime in 2020. It is expected that, once commissioned, the powerful Shandong will serve as flagship to the modern PLAN. The service hopes to fund and build as many as six aircraft carriers, no doubt to power-project in the region as well as to challenge the authority of the United States Navy on the high seas in general. The South China Seas, with its many resource rich areas and islands, also remains a point of contention between many of the regional powers including Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam.
April 2017 - Shandong, China's first domestically-built aircraft carrier, was officially launched.
February 2018 - The Shandong is on pace to be commissioned for service some time in 2020. She is currently being fitted out for duty.
November 2019 - Commissioning of the Shandong is expected soon according to reports.
November 2019 - CNS Shandong was spotted at the southern end of Hainan Island. Satellite imagery showcased at least seven J-15 carrier-capable fighters on its deck as well as several Chinese helicopters (Z-9, Z-18)
December 2019 - CNS Shandong has officially entered service with the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) force. The vessel was commissioned on December 17th, 2019.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world and WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.