China's Type 001A CV makes progress at Dalian

Zhang Tao

Airbus Defence and Space imagery dated 13 January showing China's Type 001A aircraft carrier hull nearing completion at Dalian shipyard. Prior to launch, remaining supports will be removed, as will objects within the dry dock. Source: CNES 2017, Distribution Airbus DS/2017 IHS Markit

Key Points 

•China's Type 001A aircraft carrier is nearing completion, with most external structural work visibly complete.

•Following the addition of a red anti-fouling coating to the lower hull, little work remains before the 001A hull can be launched.

Airbus Defence and Space imagery captured on 13 January shows progress being made with China's Type 001A aircraft carrier (CV) at the Dalian shipyard in northeastern China, where the carrier hull is progressing towards being launched.

Jane's previously examined the status of the shipbuilding programmes at Dalian in August 2016. Since then the superstructure of the Type 001A CV has been installed, along with the aircraft elevators, and the remaining decking has been put in place. Minor work remains visible on deck, with a portion of decking seen temporarily removed in November 2016.

On 20 February state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported that some of the support equipment, possibly including support bracers or scaffolding around the upper surfaces, had been removed and that red paint had been applied to the hull. Red anti-fouling paint is used beneath the waterline to prevent the growth of marine organisms on the hull, which can affect performance.

The lack of major external components remaining to be installed on the Type 001A CV hull, and the presence of the red anti-fouling paint on the lower hull, indicates that it is nearing launch. The only major exterior work remaining involves surfacing and painting the flight deck. It may be possible to perform this task following launch, should the dry dock be required for another shipbuilding programme. A key indicator that the Type 001A is preparing for launch will be removal of extant support bracers currently in place within the dry dock, as well as any remaining equipment or materials residing on the dry dock floor.

Meanwhile, the 13 January satellite imagery also shows that the second Dalian-produced Type 052D guided-missile destroyer (DDG) is receiving weapons and sensors.

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