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Next Chinese aircraft carrier - Type 002 'Shandong' and Type 003

sferrin

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So the PLAN aircraft carrier Type 003 is to be a conventional carrier and not nuclear powered. What made the Chinese stop going to full nuclear for their next carrier? cost or technological problems?
Ford Zip file probably not on the server yet.
 

Josh_TN

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I've heard it was technical problems, but I don't think we'll ever know.
 

totoro

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I haven't seen any actual news about the process of trying to use nuclear based propulsion for a carrier. If I had to guess, I'd say the whole idea is still in research and development stage. Not mature enough to even try to power a carrier.

Sure, smaller reactors could have been used instead. Just like USS Enterprise had 8 of them. Or how French CdG has two reactors meant to be be used on submarines - and yet with two reactors, each with output of 150 MW, it's of course still not really enough to propel a 42 thousand tonne ship to optimum speeds. The first approach, using many smaller reactors, sort of negates the volume/weight efficiency that's good about nuclear propulsion in the first place. But trying to skimp on power results in what the French have had to deal with.

So I'd say the Chinese are waiting until they perfect a reactor that will be able to power a large ship. Since the conventionally powered 003 carrier seems to be shaping to be a 80 000 tonne vessel, a nuclear design following it will likely be at least as big, if not bigger.

Right now they're designing that big nuclear Icebreaker, which is alleged to have two 200 MW reactors. It could be that part of the whole need for a nuclear icebreaker is also to test new reactor designs. But even if scaled up a bit, to 250 MW each, those wouldn't be enough in a pair. So those may be either just an intermediate step of an iterative process, with another generation of reactors following, ones to feature 400 MW output, to be used as a pair... Or they may even be used as are, 200 MW reactors, but use a pair per each shaft, four reactors in total. I guess it'd be something of a compromise. Not as clunky solution as the 8 reactor Enterprise class but not as elegant as 2 reactor Nimitz. And when it comes to output to displacement ratio, such a solution would be much closer to Nimitz ratio than to CdGs (100 tonnes propelled per MW, compared to 90 tonnes per MW for Nimitz and 140 tonnes per MW for CdG)

I guess if they go for the four reactor solution, that might signal they believe there is urgency and they are in a rush. If they go for a two reactor solution, we may not see a nuclear carrier for another decade or more. That's just personal conjecture on my part.
 

helmutkohl

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question. i often hear the liaoning (the first carrier) is supposed to be more of a training ship and a stop gap towards true carrier operations
if so, is this true with the Flankers they operate? are they also just a stop gap and the PLAN has another aircraft they plan to move on to?
 

SOC

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question. i often hear the liaoning (the first carrier) is supposed to be more of a training ship and a stop gap towards true carrier operations
if so, is this true with the Flankers they operate? are they also just a stop gap and the PLAN has another aircraft they plan to move on to?

Allegedly the next PLANAF carrier-based fighter will be a version of the J-31, but that remains unconfirmed. It's likely that the Type 003 will have a bunch of CATOBAR J-15s.
 

Josh_TN

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I don't believe there is a known successor aircraft to the J-15, though presumably one is being worked on at some level. People have kicked around the idea of J-31 filling that role, but I don't think there's been any official indication or public release of info that confirms it.
 

FighterJock

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I don't believe there is a known successor aircraft to the J-15, though presumably one is being worked on at some level. People have kicked around the idea of J-31 filling that role, but I don't think there's been any official indication or public release of info that confirms it.

A real shame that the J-15 will be the only PLANAF carrier borne fighter for the foreseeable future, I was looking forward to seeing at least one stealthy fighter aircraft to be carried on board the Type- 003.
 

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I'm sure there will be at some point, we just don't know what form it will take.
 

stealthflanker

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Have anyone try making estimates on propulsion power requirement ?

Tried a bit X3 tho it's very simplified with some assumptions, by using the length and beam of the currently constructed hull (draft is assumed to be 11 m tho) and displacement is 85000 metric tonne.

At first i just running the lines the entire "visible" length of the hull but then. I think those gaps between modules are to be closed and the hull united. (Otherwise it would be some 344 m, impressive size which rival CVN-65) The "united hull" however would be assuming Chinese not put anything more in between would be 305 m.

The speed curve and thus power requirement would look something like this :
Speed Curve-CV-003.png

Assuming similar Kuznetsov 200000 SHP power it would bring the 003, theoretically reach about 34.5 knot. But that's basically pushing the whole thing with no margin for something else (e.g electric power generation or steam catapult tank) For 30 Knot speed she would need about 135800 SHP

CV-003Data.png

Working from there, the steam boiler parameters and then fuel requirement can be estimated. So assuming that she would need to match Kitty Hawk. Her fuel requirements would be about 12000 Metric tonne, for 19300 km of range. With 23 Knot of cruise speed.

The ordnances and aviation fuel however would be dictated by the campaign endurance and available space.
 

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helmutkohl

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question. i often hear the liaoning (the first carrier) is supposed to be more of a training ship and a stop gap towards true carrier operations
if so, is this true with the Flankers they operate? are they also just a stop gap and the PLAN has another aircraft they plan to move on to?

Allegedly the next PLANAF carrier-based fighter will be a version of the J-31, but that remains unconfirmed. It's likely that the Type 003 will have a bunch of CATOBAR J-15s.
given that the Chinese carriers are based off the Russian ones and operate similar sized aircraft..
I wonder if China is willing to export a naval J-31 to Russia one day or allow license production of it.
it uses Russian engines and can save Russia time and money on the R&D.
 

uk 75

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So far all China has done is to build its own version of Soviet era carrier designs.
Compare this with what pre-WW2 Japan was able to achieve from scratch and using its own designs for ships and aircraft.
 

stealthflanker

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question. i often hear the liaoning (the first carrier) is supposed to be more of a training ship and a stop gap towards true carrier operations
if so, is this true with the Flankers they operate? are they also just a stop gap and the PLAN has another aircraft they plan to move on to?

Allegedly the next PLANAF carrier-based fighter will be a version of the J-31, but that remains unconfirmed. It's likely that the Type 003 will have a bunch of CATOBAR J-15s.
given that the Chinese carriers are based off the Russian ones and operate similar sized aircraft..
I wonder if China is willing to export a naval J-31 to Russia one day or allow license production of it.
it uses Russian engines and can save Russia time and money on the R&D.

and did Russia ever ask for such an aircraft in the first place ?

Despite stable relationship for decades, one should never forget that Russia and China at some point in history are at the throat of eachother, remember the zhenbao island incident. Chinese ballistic and cruise missile buildups in the bigger picture are not just to deter US or western nation but also Russia, which in turn wanting to do the same but have INF treaty in between. Now that the treaty is gone things might have improved for Russia.
 

uk 75

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This thread tends to see everything from the perspective of China's opponents, notably the US. If you try to see the world from Beijing the build-up becomes more reasonable.
Russia, once the world's second military power and an ideogical adversary is forced by circumstances into being a source of weapons and technology while many Chinese nationals now work and trade there. However, its regime is fragile and prone to policy swings which could go against you.
Japan, the most important regional power remains a US ally supporting US nuclear carriers and airpower while fielding state of the art naval and air power.
Vietnam, neighbour to the south is an emerging regional economic power with an effective army and air force moving closer to the US and ideologically opposed.
The Korean Peninsular has a maverick North and US nuclear and conventional forces based in the South, together with S Korean air and naval forces.
The rogue province of Taiwan is still ruled by a hostile regime equipped with effective air and naval power.
In the wider region, nuclear submarine equipped India has moved closer to the US and built up its naval airpower.
I am no apologist for a one party state guilty of genocide but as the world's second most powerful economy and relative to what a serious naval power like Japan was able to do in the 1920s to 40s I find the Chinese carrier build up modest.
 

Hood

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Well I am no defence intelligence analyst, but I can't see any evidence of catapults in those pictures, the upper hull modules are all in the aft part of the ship. Sure it confirms its a steam-powered ship, but then it would most likely be whether its a ski jump or catapult-equipped ship.
Not until we get a couple more decks on the bow section will anyone be able to tell. Since we seem to get regular satellite updates it makes no sense to speculate, we will know within a few months whether it has cats or not.

Anyway, logistically would it make sense for China to operate ski-jump, steam cat and EMALS catapults across its fleet? I would think they would want some commonality.
 

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Anyway, logistically would it make sense for China to operate ski-jump, steam cat and EMALS catapults across its fleet? I would think they would want some commonality.

But if China regards ski-jump design as an inferior system overall (More deck used, less flexibility, less payload or range on average etc) would it not be reasonable for China to desire a switch to a catapult system?

And if so, then would there not always be a period of two systems existing one alongside the other for a period of time? Until the ski-jump ecosystem gets eventually retired?

If commonality (logistics efficiency?) trumped progress and combat mission efficiency then there would almost never be any change and there'd never be a good time to start the switch to catapults.
 

Josh_TN

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question. i often hear the liaoning (the first carrier) is supposed to be more of a training ship and a stop gap towards true carrier operations
if so, is this true with the Flankers they operate? are they also just a stop gap and the PLAN has another aircraft they plan to move on to?

Allegedly the next PLANAF carrier-based fighter will be a version of the J-31, but that remains unconfirmed. It's likely that the Type 003 will have a bunch of CATOBAR J-15s.
given that the Chinese carriers are based off the Russian ones and operate similar sized aircraft..
I wonder if China is willing to export a naval J-31 to Russia one day or allow license production of it.
it uses Russian engines and can save Russia time and money on the R&D.

It seem unlikely Russia ever operates a carrier again to me. Kuznetsov is a prestige project.
 

kaiserbill

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That is extremely faulty reasoning.
But anyway, this is the Chinese carrier thread.
 

helmutkohl

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Anyway, logistically would it make sense for China to operate ski-jump, steam cat and EMALS catapults across its fleet? I would think they would want some commonality.

But if China regards ski-jump design as an inferior system overall (More deck used, less flexibility, less payload or range on average etc)
on that note, any good info on how much the J-15 is cleared to take off with in terms of fuel and payload?
i know there was always intense debate over the Su-33's range of payload and fuel it could take off with
 

totoro

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While the Chinese don't publish figures for their j-15 I will do what I always do when that question is posed. Copy paste text from the Andrei fomin"s book on su-33 operating from Kuznetsov. (Translation from Russian by Paralay)
"Su-27K with incomplete filling of fuel tanks, depending on the amount of suspended missiles " air" , ranged from 25 to 28 tons while he was starting thrust 0.9-1.0 and could take off from the 1st or 2nd starting position on the deck of the ship ( the takeoff distance of 105 m ) . With full fuel tanks and maximum ammunition missiles " air" take-off weight increased to 32 tons, and thrust was reduced to 0.8. In this case vzleet aircraft had to be made with the third starting position ( takeoff distance of 195 m ) . Hence , the aircraft could start and the maximum load it with bombs and rockets".
Whether j15 has slightly different figures we can't know. But it should be close enough.
 

uk 75

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It would make sense for the PLAN to develop the Catobar carrier force with its existing equipment while it practises deploying and operating its first carriers.
The Soviet Navy started with helicopter ships and evolved its VSTOL Kievs from them. By the time the Gorshkov/Kuznetzov deployed the Russians had well over a decade's experience of operating helos and Forger/Yak36s at sea.
China has no history of modern blue water operations to draw on unlike Russia, India and Japan.
 

helmutkohl

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While the Chinese don't publish figures for their j-15 I will do what I always do when that question is posed. Copy paste text from the Andrei fomin"s book on su-33 operating from Kuznetsov. (Translation from Russian by Paralay)
"Su-27K with incomplete filling of fuel tanks, depending on the amount of suspended missiles " air" , ranged from 25 to 28 tons while he was starting thrust 0.9-1.0 and could take off from the 1st or 2nd starting position on the deck of the ship ( the takeoff distance of 105 m ) . With full fuel tanks and maximum ammunition missiles " air" take-off weight increased to 32 tons, and thrust was reduced to 0.8. In this case vzleet aircraft had to be made with the third starting position ( takeoff distance of 195 m ) . Hence , the aircraft could start and the maximum load it with bombs and rockets".
Whether j15 has slightly different figures we can't know. But it should be close enough.
thanks! i couldnt find a good top down pic of liaoning but for Kuznetsov
I guess 1 or 2 is the two front positions on this pic
and position 3 is the one in the back at the angled deck?
kuznetsov-line7.jpg
 

helmutkohl

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Yes, exactly.
thanks. so the claims were wrong, and that indeed the Flankers can take off with full fuel and full armament. just needs to take off from the rear position.

next question.. does the PLAN must demand a catapult version? I assume that a catobar layout, since it can still launch fully loaded aircraft, would be overall cheaper to operate and produce less stress on the airframe.

however, using the rear position limits simultaneous landing and take off, and take offs are limited to 1 per plane.

but seeing as PLAN seems to operate mostly in peace time, does it need to use the rear position as often?
 

totoro

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Yes, exactly.
thanks. so the claims were wrong, and that indeed the Flankers can take off with full fuel and full armament. just needs to take off from the rear position.

next question.. does the PLAN must demand a catapult version? I assume that a catobar layout, since it can still launch fully loaded aircraft, would be overall cheaper to operate and produce less stress on the airframe.

however, using the rear position limits simultaneous landing and take off, and take offs are limited to 1 per plane.

but seeing as PLAN seems to operate mostly in peace time, does it need to use the rear position as often?
Well, Flankers CAN take off with full load, but it's still not such a small drawback to do it from the rear position. There's just one position there, which means the launch rate is almost two times worse than for the not-fully-loaded flankers. Plus that position takes up two thirds of the entire deck length. Which means it somewhat impedes other deck operations, while such launches are performed. I am not talking just about landings but also various movement of planes around the deck. Overall sortie rates generated by the carrier, when planes are required to take off from the 3rd position are surely noticeably worse compared to ops from the first two positions.

If one wants to have a carrier just for show - then anything could be acceptable. But most likely PLAN does desire a true, efficient war machine. So CATOBAR layout is superior there. Which is why they've tested such systems over the last ten years, and why now we've seen two different planes configured for CATOBAR ops. The J-15T fighter and the KJ-600 AEW plane.
 

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As noted above, sortie rate suffers immensely with the STOBAR take off and aircraft with low thrust ratios are precluded from take off at all. The PLAN will make the transition to CATOBAR as soon as it can; the only question is whether this ship will have cats and what form they will take. One of the tweets posted above noted steam turbines; if true that could mean nuclear power but more likely IMO means steam cats. Alternatively, they are adopting conventional steam as a learning step to nuclear propulsion and EMALS is fitted. We shall see.
 

helmutkohl

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As noted above, sortie rate suffers immensely with the STOBAR take off and aircraft with low thrust ratios are precluded from take off at all. The PLAN will make the transition to CATOBAR as soon as it can; the only question is whether this ship will have cats and what form they will take. One of the tweets posted above noted steam turbines; if true that could mean nuclear power but more likely IMO means steam cats. Alternatively, they are adopting conventional steam as a learning step to nuclear propulsion and EMALS is fitted. We shall see.
thank you josh and my neighbor totoro.
what do you think of the stovl carriers then in terms of sortie rates and such vis avis the catobar.
 

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It is outside my direct knowledge, but I would say sortie rate also is tied to deck crew competency, available deck space for aircraft handling/movement, etc. So direct comparisons will be hard to make. But a US CVN for instance can launch four fully weighted aircraft in quick succession from its four cats (I believe this is rarely done and usually the landing area is reserved as such), where as the Kusnetsov is limited to one fully load aircraft at a time. Furthermore the US CVN can launch a pair of aircraft at a time while retaining a cleared landing space; the STOBAR configuration of the Russian and Chinese carriers only allow aircraft with reduced fuel loads from the 1&2 positions if the landing area is kept open. So there are a lot of limitations in launch and recovery in STOBAR, even if we ignore other deck space and proficiency considerations. The lack of an AEW aircraft is another major consideration.
 

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As noted above, sortie rate suffers immensely with the STOBAR take off and aircraft with low thrust ratios are precluded from take off at all. The PLAN will make the transition to CATOBAR as soon as it can; the only question is whether this ship will have cats and what form they will take. One of the tweets posted above noted steam turbines; if true that could mean nuclear power but more likely IMO means steam cats. Alternatively, they are adopting conventional steam as a learning step to nuclear propulsion and EMALS is fitted. We shall see.
thank you josh and my neighbor totoro.
what do you think of the stovl carriers then in terms of sortie rates and such vis avis the catobar.
Stovl carriers are inherently less efficient. Even if one uses a huge carrier such as QE, and compares it to a Nimitz, that ship can still launch one plane every minute or so. Compared to 4 times as many on Nimitz. QE max launch rate was once quoted at 15 minutes for 24 planes. Nimitz could do its entire 60 plane air wing within 20 or so minutes.

Landings still require a good chunk of a deck. Perhaps a non-rolling landing might be coupled with a light load/not full fuel take off at the same time - but that's not an optimal way to do either of those two operations. RN wants to use rolling landings, so it can bring back more weapons (a good deal of missions will not see weapons used). Such rolling landings again take up most o the deck.

I've seen figures cited for QE class of some 110 sorties in a day, as maximum sortie rate. A more sustained sortie rate, over 5 days, is 75 sorties for an airwing of 36 planes, for each day.

Nimitz's sortie rate is usually quoted at 120 per day sustained and up to 240 per day as a surge rate. But the direct comparison of figures may not be advisable as context might be slightly different. Nimitz also operates up to 60 various fixed wing planes.

Even so, it's likely a large conventional carrier can offer a few dozen percent greater daily sortie rate, on top of a a few times better one-time surge launch capability. Launching 24 planes in as short time as possible, for example, is certainly easier to do on a Nimitz than on QE.

And various even smaller STOVL carriers would have even worse performance than QE.
 

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These actions come in the wake of a Weibo account run by the military’s official newspaper, the PLA Daily, posting a commentary warning China’s military enthusiasts to avoid being unwitting tools for foreign intelligence services.

The Weibo account, Jun Zhengping Studio, which roughly translates to “Military Discussion Studio,” cited a recent incident where a photo published on social media showed “a weapon that has yet to enter service,” which became “key intelligence” for foreign agencies seeking information on China’s defense and military developments.

It added that this incident was the latest in a string of similar occurrences and warned that even unwitting revelations of military secrets by defense enthusiasts who are otherwise supporters of a strong Chinese military could potentially lead to prison terms.

It’s unclear what recent revelation the commentary was referring to; although in recent months, video of a Xi’an H-6N bomber carrying what is believed to be an air-launched hypersonic glide vehicle as well as photos taken discreetly from a distance showing elements of the internal layout of China’s third aircraft carrier currently undergoing construction at a shipyard near Shanghai first appeared on China’s social media.

The crackdown is potentially detrimental to those who use open-source material to analyze China’s military developments. Other examples of such sources include a regular stream of photos showing the progress of the aforementioned aircraft carrier undergoing construction at Changxing island near Shanghai, sometimes taken by passengers on commercial airliners taking off from or landing at the city’s Pudong airport.
 

kaiserbill

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I was waiting for this, frankly.
I think the tensions on the political world stage will result in more of this.
And not just China.
 

Josh_TN

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The US has started to restrict information about its projects perhaps even more than it did during the cold war. For instance we known almost nothing about the AIM-260 or NGAD programs, and most of the hypersonic stuff we have images of but no stats for.
 

Wyvern

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The US has started to restrict information about its projects perhaps even more than it did during the cold war. For instance we known almost nothing about the AIM-260 or NGAD programs, and most of the hypersonic stuff we have images of but no stats for.
I guess it's for the better.
 

skyblue

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The US has started to restrict information about its projects perhaps even more than it did during the cold war. For instance we known almost nothing about the AIM-260 or NGAD programs, and most of the hypersonic stuff we have images of but no stats for.
I guess it's for the better.
There is a price to pay for secrecy, literally. It's expensive, especially as programs scale. Secondly, free flow of information among researchers is important to the health of a R&D ecosystem. Notoriously secretive companies like Apple are finding themselves compromised in A.I. by their own nature.

Thirdly, it's hard to sell/justify what you are doing to politicians and their constituents if they've got no idea what's going on. Space Force is actually trying to declassify more stuff for that reason.
 

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While the Chinese don't publish figures for their j-15 I will do what I always do when that question is posed. Copy paste text from the Andrei fomin"s book on su-33 operating from Kuznetsov. (Translation from Russian by Paralay)
"Su-27K with incomplete filling of fuel tanks, depending on the amount of suspended missiles " air" , ranged from 25 to 28 tons while he was starting thrust 0.9-1.0 and could take off from the 1st or 2nd starting position on the deck of the ship ( the takeoff distance of 105 m ) . With full fuel tanks and maximum ammunition missiles " air" take-off weight increased to 32 tons, and thrust was reduced to 0.8. In this case vzleet aircraft had to be made with the third starting position ( takeoff distance of 195 m ) . Hence , the aircraft could start and the maximum load it with bombs and rockets".
Whether j15 has slightly different figures we can't know. But it should be close enough.
thanks! i couldnt find a good top down pic of liaoning but for Kuznetsov
I guess 1 or 2 is the two front positions on this pic
and position 3 is the one in the back at the angled deck?
kuznetsov-line7.jpg
The HF "whiskers" antennae stand out in this profile.
 

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Again an interesting read written by H.I. Sutton and published at the NavalNews:

China’s New Aircraft Carrier Is In Same League As US Navy’s Ford Class

The Chinese Navy is radically modernizing its capabilities. Chief among these are a fleet of aircraft carriers. A new satellite image clearly shows the Type-003 aircraft carrier taking shape in Shanghai, and it is the largest so far.



PLN Type 003 carrier - 20210328 GE.jpg
 

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