China’s Most Advanced Aircraft Carrier, Fujian, Starts “Mooring Trials”; PLA Navy Celebrates Liaoning’s Birthday

Story Highlights
  • The cause has to do with their preparation. If you have three, you can set one aside for maintenance, one for training, and one for deployment.
  • Sheu responded that it is much simpler for the PLAN to manage its maritime operations with carriers when asked how the three aircraft carriers fit into the PLA Navy's maritime strategy.

Benefits Of Mooring Trials

The most recent update implies that the Fuijan’s building and testing are proceeding without any issues,  Chinese military specialists.

A Beijing-based military specialist told the state-run Global Times that mooring trials, a standard practise in shipbuilding, are carried out while a vessel is moored in port and test the equipment and machinery on board as well as their compatibility with one another.

The expert clarified that outfitting, also known as installation and calibration work, might be done concurrently with mooring trials to shorten the time till delivery.

In a recent interview with Global Times, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military specialist, stated that outfitting work entails installing tools like fuel pipelines, gas pipes, electric gadgets, and weapon systems.

The outfitting process may take longer than usual to ensure everything is done properly because Fujian is China’s first aircraft carrier to be equipped with electromagnetic catapults, a technology that, as of yet, only the US has aboard the USS Gerald R Ford.

The former vice-admiral of the Indian Navy, Shekhar Sinha, was contacted by EurAsian Times to find out more about mooring trials and their benefits during equipment installation.

“Mooring a ship has two benefits,” he declared.

One benefit is that the ship can be stationary in seawater while equipment is installed and tested. Moorings’ proximity to the coast and the harbour makes it much simpler to get the logistical shore support required for installation testing.

“Due to shore support, the harbours and moorings are effectively protected during peacetime. However, docks and moorings must be protected during times of conflict otherwise they become stationary targets.

It is a smart idea to conduct installation calibration tests at moorings in non-conflict situations.

The trials took place only three months after the aircraft carrier was put into service in June at Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai. Before going into service, Fujian will undergo sea testing and tests like ship-borne aircraft operation. The sea trials should start early in the following year.

The Fujian Aircraft Carrier

Except for the fact that it has a displacement of more than 80,000 tonnes, China is not known to have revealed the precise technical details of the Fujian at this time.

320 metres in length and 73 metres in breadth, as determined by satellite pictures, make it the largest non-American aircraft carrier in the world.

The electromagnetic catapults on board the aircraft carrier, which allow it to launch a variety of aircraft, are the most impressive aspect of Fujian.

Similar to the steam-driven catapults used in the CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) technology, these catapults that propel the aircraft are powered by strong magnetic fields produced by electromagnetic induction motors.

In addition to launching fighter jets with more ammunition, drones, and huge transport aircraft that are superior to transport helicopters aboard aircraft carriers in terms of range, speed, and cargo capacity can also be launched using Fujian’s electromagnetic catapults.

Additionally, the electromagnetic catapults are capable of launching sizable reconnaissance aircraft outfitted with aerial warning and control systems (AWACS), extending the range at which potential enemies can be forewarned.

EurAsian Times was informed by Jyh-Shyang Sheu, an Assistant Research Fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research in Taipei, that electromagnetic catapults would greatly improve the combat worth of Chinese carriers.

“Yes, Fujian has a catapult. The greatest difference is that,  Sheu, it might allow Chinese fighter jets operating from carriers to carry higher payloads and deploy larger aircraft (AEWs, for example) more easily. He did add, though, that the PLA Navy needs to modernise its naval aviation gear.

The J-15T, a J-15B with a catapult that takes off from the STOBAR ski-jumps of the Type 001 “Liaoning” and Type 002 “Shandong” aircraft carriers, will be operated by Fujian.

The J-15 Flying Shark was inspired by the Russian Sukhoi Su-33. Currently, the FC-31 “Gyrfalcon” is being tested and is waiting for serial production, making it the only carrier-borne fighter in the service of the PLA Navy.

Along with the J-35 next-generation stealth fighter, the KJ-600 fixed-wing early warning aircraft, armed reconnaissance drones, and the Y-7 transport aircraft, Fujian may also eventually receive an electronic warfare (EW) variant of the J-15, similar to the EA-18 Growler EW aircraft of the US Navy based on the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Liaoning Celebrates Its First Decade In Service

While this was going on, the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft, marked its first decade of service with a “full load exercise” in the Bohai Sea, carrying a full load of 24 J-15 carrier-borne fighters as well as two Z-8 helicopters and a Z-9 helicopter on its flight deck.

Incomplete Soviet Kuznetsov-class carrier, The Liaoning, was bought from Ukraine in 1998 and towed to China in 2002. In 2012, it underwent modifications and was given to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

Following that, China based Shandong, its second aircraft carrier, on Liaoning. It was introduced in 2017 and put into operation in 2019. Shandong was the first aircraft carrier built in China.

Sheu responded that it is much simpler for the PLAN to manage its maritime operations with carriers when asked how the three aircraft carriers fit into the PLA Navy’s maritime strategy.

“The cause has to do with their preparation. If you have three, you can set one aside for maintenance, one for training, and one for deployment. Thus, the PLAN could always keep at least one carrier available for deployment in the event of an emergency, Sheu.

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