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Next Chinese aircraft carrier

totoro

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Several images have surfaced (of which this is one) from Shanghai CSSC shipyard. Images show what appears to be a large module of a possible aircraft carrier.

Said shipyard was rumored to have started building China's next carrier, first Catobar one, since a few years ago.
 

Moose

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If they intend to hit the oft-cited 2020 launch date it would definitely have large modules coming together soon. Scale-wise it looks in the same ballpark as the famous demo module from 2013.
 

JFC Fuller

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Deino is the resident China expert, I hope he makes an appearance in this thread.

I have no idea if thats a carrier module but it has inspired me to go and look at the shipyard expansion thats going on at this yard and....wow:

The google earth imagery is out of date and doesn't show the gantry cranes being used for this module (the ground is still being worked in the GE imagery) but what we can see is incredible, at the south-eastern tip of the new site (the whole area has been drained, landscaped and enclosed with fencing) are two enormous buildings (the largest is 400m x 170m and based on the shadow it casts is seriously tall) that could be module halls for submarines or surface combatants (or other ship types), and the whole site is criss-crossed with dead straight six lane highways with no central reservations which would be ideal for moving large ship modules on Self Propelled Modular Transporters.

On top of that, there is an image taken from an aircraft on another forum that suggests further developments: it shows the land that sits between the site where this module is being built and the river as having been flooded, some of this appears to have been paddy fields in the past and has been captured flooded previously but this time the flooding is much greater, based on the alignment of the gantry cranes and some of the earthworks underway in the earlier GE imagery I wonder whether this land is being turned into a giant basin/dry building dock similar to the arrangement at Dalian where 002 and some destroyers have been built.

If that wasn't enough a look at the older part of the yard (itself not actually that old) suggests one of the big dry building docks is being extended to about 600m in length and the warship factory (with its own ship lift for launching) still appears to pumping out new vessels.

It looks like they are adding an area in excess of 400 acres to an existing very large shipyard that only went operational a decade ago. For reference the entire HII Pascagoula facility is 800 acres. The investment here is astonishing, they're really not messing around.
 

sferrin

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JFC Fuller said:
Deino is the resident China expert, I hope he makes an appearance in this thread.

I have no idea if thats a carrier module but it has inspired me to go and look at the shipyard expansion thats going on at this yard and....wow:

The google earth imagery is out of date and doesn't show the gantry cranes being used for this module (the ground is still being worked in the GE imagery) but what we can see is incredible, at the south-eastern tip of the new site (the whole area has been drained, landscaped and enclosed with fencing) are two enormous buildings (the largest is 400m x 170m and based on the shadow it casts is seriously tall) that could be module halls for submarines or surface combatants (or other ship types), and the whole site is criss-crossed with dead straight six lane highways with no central reservations which would be ideal for moving large ship modules on Self Propelled Modular Transporters.

On top of that, there is an image taken from an aircraft on another forum that suggests further developments: it shows the land that sits between the site where this module is being built and the river as having been flooded, some of this appears to have been paddy fields in the past and has been captured flooded previously but this time the flooding is much greater, based on the alignment of the gantry cranes and some of the earthworks underway in the earlier GE imagery I wonder whether this land is being turned into a giant basin/dry building dock similar to the arrangement at Dalian where 002 and some destroyers have been built.

If that wasn't enough a look at the older part of the yard (itself not actually that old) suggests one of the big dry building docks is being extended to about 600m in length and the warship factory (with its own ship lift for launching) still appears to pumping out new vessels.

It looks like they are adding an area in excess of 400 acres to an existing very large shipyard that only went operational a decade ago. For reference the entire HII Pascagoula facility is 800 acres. The investment here is astonishing, they're really not messing around.
The South West shipyard in Shanghai has 3 cranes the size of the one at Newport News. The one across the river has four. The shipyard at Dalian has four more. (Though one appears to have a pair of Type 055s sitting in the dry dock at the moment.

Basically, China has FOUR dry docks in which they could build carriers.

As for submarine halls. . .

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/navy-ships/a26201/china-building-the-worlds-largest-submarine-factory/
 

Hood

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With abundant capital, material and manpower this expansion is only to be expected. They can afford to do it.
China produced 80.2 million tonnes of crude steel last month, only 6.94 million tonnes of that was exported. That's just one kind of economic indicator of what they can spend resources on.
The main barriers to warship production are probably going to be powerplant, equipment and armament production rather than material for hulls and slip space. Certainly the latter seems to be being taken of.
 

totoro

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With volume and diversification of commerical grade shipbuilding in China in last few decades, and evident buildup of navy with various kinds of warships, I would say there are no industrial or technological barriers for numerical expansion of Chinese navy in any field.

It basically boils down to what sort of money will PLAN receive. If the requiremebts are there, and therefore if the budget is there, there is nothing stopping China from building 2 carriers at once every 5 or so years for the foreseeable future. Of course, such expansion would be so expensive that it is likely the naval budget simply won't be there. But making one carrier, and training enough crew for it, every several years is another matter...
 

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Grey Havoc

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/10/12/china-mocks-us-proposal-sell-american-aircraft-carriers-beijing/

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
 

sferrin

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Grey Havoc said:

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
Sounds like the tariffs are starting to sting. If I were Trump I'd just tweet, "why do you need to buy them when you can just copy them?" ;D
 

Thorvic

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fredymac said:
Ski ramp and no catapults?

Nope the Photo is of 01 and 02 the third carrier is being built at a different yard to a new design
 

donnage99

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sferrin said:
Sounds like the tariffs are starting to sting. If I were Trump I'd just tweet, "why do you need to buy them when you can just copy them?" ;D
That's wishful thinking. Trade deficit rose record high as a result of the trade war. I think both are losing but it stings alot more for us than it is for them. And their government doesn't have the thing called public perception as much of an issue for a government with so much power. Regardless I think if anything it unites the more splinter and peaceful factions within the communist party who think peaceful trading is the way toward chinese prosperity to accept the hawks that military might is that much more of a leverage. Aircraft carriers are floating domestic propaganda machines so I would even speculate they gonna ramp up hard on this front. My 2 cents
 

sferrin

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donnage99 said:
Aircraft carriers are floating domestic propaganda machines so I would even speculate they gonna ramp up hard on this front. My 2 cents
I would be surprised if they stopped at half dozen. I could see them retiring the first two early for an all-nuclear carrier force though.
 

Foo Fighter

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More likely to retask the first two for antisub ops as part of a group.
 

Sherman Tank

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Or training carriers like the Lexington and the Forrestal.
 

Deino

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Most recent and clearest image of the Type 003 carrier under construction at the Jiangnan Shipyard. So it seems as if it has a reached a status comparable to the 002 carrier in mid/late-2015 (right image 31. October at Dalian) even if it shows some differences ...

via JSCh/PDF
 

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sferrin

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This looks like it's out in the middle of a field. :confused:
 

sferrin

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So how many docks will they be building carriers in now? 2? 3?
 

Moose

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So how many docks will they be building carriers in now? 2? 3?
At the moment, one. Dalian hasn't laid another since completing 001A, and while there have been statements claiming work on the 003 class there's been no sign of it yet. Certainly, they now have 2 shipyards capable of building PLAN carriers, or will once the first Jiangnan-built carrier is accepted, but there's not much sign of simultaneous builds just yet.
 

sferrin

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Interesting. It's been over half a century since the US has built anywhere but Newport News, and as far as I know they can only build one at a time. (The Kitty Hawk class was built at three different yards.)
 

Avimimus

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It is interesting actually - from a historical perspective. One probably only needs three carriers to project power towards smaller countries. So building more carriers is done for prestige (to look like the Americans) or to actually have a degree of blue water dominance. Of course, such an arms race would benefit China's military industrial complex - it doesn't have to be rational, it could be due to lobbying from the shipyards themselves.

But implicitly, the message in building a carrier fleet is that carriers are still relevant in a major war between great powers. Aside from the stupidity of such a war, this would seem to indicate a belief that carriers can withstand attacks from submarines, massed anti-ship missile attacks, ballistic missile attacks, and hypersonic missile attacks.... so assuming the decision isn't completely irrational, then this would indicate that the PLAN has a much higher estimation of the survivability of carriers in the 21st century than many of us do.
 

sferrin

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It is interesting actually - from a historical perspective. One probably only needs three carriers to project power towards smaller countries. So building more carriers is done for prestige (to look like the Americans) or to actually have a degree of blue water dominance. Of course, such an arms race would benefit China's military industrial complex - it doesn't have to be rational, it could be due to lobbying from the shipyards themselves.

But implicitly, the message in building a carrier fleet is that carriers are still relevant in a major war between great powers. Aside from the stupidity of such a war, this would seem to indicate a belief that carriers can withstand attacks from submarines, massed anti-ship missile attacks, ballistic missile attacks, and hypersonic missile attacks.... so assuming the decision isn't completely irrational, then this would indicate that the PLAN has a much higher estimation of the survivability of carriers in the 21st century than many of us do.

If their desire is to match the USN in carrier numbers the only way they could do it inside 25-30 years would be to build in parallel. (Their build cycle seems to be shorter than the current US build cycle so they could eventually catch up with a single shipyard but it would take decades.)
 

sferrin

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Deino

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This looks like it's out in the middle of a field. :confused:

In fact it is located here ....

View attachment 615168View attachment 615169View attachment 615170
Interesting that they're already building the ship with no way to get it in the water yet. Are they planning on moving it on land, like the US does with LHAs, or can the dock it's being built on lower?
 

edwest

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Just an observation, but it appears the three major powers are committed to a no nuclear weapons aproach. With the addition of laser weapons to naval vessels, I think some would regard that as the anti-missile (and other problems) solution they need.
 

sferrin

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Just an observation, but it appears the three major powers are committed to a no nuclear weapons aproach.
That must be why everybody is building nuclear weapons. (Correction: Russia and China are building nuclear weapons. The US is still working on it's powerpoints.)
 

Moose

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This looks like it's out in the middle of a field. :confused:

In fact it is located here ....

View attachment 615168View attachment 615169View attachment 615170
Interesting that they're already building the ship with no way to get it in the water yet. Are they planning on moving it on land, like the US does with LHAs, or can the dock it's being built on lower?
They're supposed to drain that former agricultural field into a new basin for the drydock, but they still have a ways to go on that front.
 

sferrin

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I figured it was something like that BUT damn, they're in a HURRY. A year and a half ago that was a dirt field. "Don't care if we don't have a way to put it in the water yet, START BUILDING",
 

JFC Fuller

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At this point they are dredging the new basin, they have opened it up to the river so there won't be anymore land based excavation. It is unclear whether it will be tidal or non-tidal, if it is tidal they have gone to a massive effort just to get a new fitting out quay but if its non-tidal (like the existing basin they are using for destroyers at this shipyard) they have a very long way to go.

In terms of build rates, it is difficult to make a call until we see solid evidence of another ship under construction. I would point out that they are apparently in the process of building their first LHD too. It is worth noting that the Soviet's, from the Kiev onwards, managed to lay down one carrier about every 3 years (though gaps varied from 29 to 55 months) in just a single shipyard.

To Sferrin's point; it does seem that they have been building the shipyard as they built the ship - I suspect they started plate cutting and building small modules in the two large sheds (that started to appear in 2016) to the South East of the assembly area in the photo above as soon as they were completed (probably early-mid 2017).

On a related note, if you think this is an impressive shipbuilding investment check-out the massive submarine factory they have built at Huludao!
 
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sferrin

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In terms of build rates, it is difficult to make a call until we see solid evidence of another ship under construction.
One wonders why they'd build this site when they have the one at Dalian capable of building carriers.

In a related note, if you think this is an impressive shipbuilding investment check-out the massive submarine factory they have built at Huludao!
I have seen pictures. Makes the Groton site look like something out of the Dark Ages. They certainly won't have Groton's capacity problem.
 

Hood

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From a Western perspective it would seem odd, but if your not ready to launch then there is no reason to wait until you have a fully dredged basin. But it shows what infrastructure development really means and what it can do. In the UK we haven't even been able to decide or fund a decent dry dock for aircraft carriers since the 1940s.

The comparison of with the USSR is interesting, but of course China's economy and industrial sector is probably far more efficent and larger than the USSR during the late 1980s.
I suspect the production bottlenecks will be equipment (especially specialist carrier-related items like catapults, arrestor gear, lifts) rather than actual hulls. I somehow doubt we will see more than 4-5 carriers but few navies have grown as impressively in such a short space of time. Whether the trained quality manpower and strategy is there remains to be seen. The Soviet Navy looked impressive but in terms of leadership and command and control it was far from effective and its conscript sailors were of variable quality.
 

JFC Fuller

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It would certainly be fascinating to get an insight into Chinese naval shipbuilding industrial policy, it is possible they have decided to use two separate yards so they can keep an element of competition but who knows for sure?

In terms of bottlenecks, one of the most interesting things about the recent launch photos of destroyers is the large number of vessels quayside apparently undergoing pre-delivery fitting out; at both Dalian and this yard they almost seem to be running out of space tie destroyers up.
 

Moose

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One wonders why they'd build this site when they have the one at Dalian capable of building carriers.
Some of the PRC's shipbuilding decisions seem more like they're done to impress than to make sense, and I don't mean that as a slight of their ability, though in this case it might simply be an attempt to free up Dalian's massive drydock, which was built to do work on multiple hulls at once but was dominated by the carrier and thus couldn't be used for other projects easily. Expanding Dalian with a similar land level facility would be harder than Jiangnan, where the land has already been seized and villages displaced.
 

JFC Fuller

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Some of the PRC's shipbuilding decisions seem more like they're done to impress than to make sense, and I don't mean that as a slight of their ability, though in this case it might simply be an attempt to free up Dalian's massive drydock, which was built to do work on multiple hulls at once but was dominated by the carrier and thus couldn't be used for other projects easily.
In the 10+ year history of the Dalian carrier dock it has never, at least according to GE imagery, held anymore than a single vessel. It was used for both the Varyag work and the construction of the second carrier though.
 

Moose

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Some of the PRC's shipbuilding decisions seem more like they're done to impress than to make sense, and I don't mean that as a slight of their ability, though in this case it might simply be an attempt to free up Dalian's massive drydock, which was built to do work on multiple hulls at once but was dominated by the carrier and thus couldn't be used for other projects easily.
In the 10+ year history of the Dalian carrier dock it has never, at least according to GE imagery, held anymore than a single vessel. It was used for both the Varyag work and the construction of the second carrier though.
Sure, the carrier program has dominated that dock and odds are that they'll keep it reserved for the carriers at least until there's another option. But the dock itself is a clone of the famous "4 destroyers at once" dock a few blocks east, it's a multi-hull dock.
 

JFC Fuller

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Actually the 4 destroyer dock is larger, both wider and longer. I don't doubt that it could be used to build multiple ships simultaneously but its existence to date has been closely tied to the carrier programme.
 

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Latest update ...

PLN Type 003 carrier - 20190712 - 1.jpgPLN Type 003 carrier - 20190712 - 2.jpg
 
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