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China launches first home-grown aircraft carrier, catching up with India

The Chinese Type 001A carrier is expected to be commissioned into the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in two years as Beijing seeks to project its maritime power.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2017 10:33 IST
Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
China aircrat carrier,Chinese navy,China India
China's first domestically built aircraft carrier is seen during its launching ceremony in Dalian, Liaoning province.(Reuters Photo)

China on Wednesday launched its first locally-built aircraft carrier, less than four years after the construction of the 70,000 tonne warship began at the Dalian shipyard.

The Type 001A carrier is expected to be commissioned into the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in two years as Beijing seeks to aggressively project its maritime power thousands of miles away from its shores.

The Chinese carrier has been launched at a time when India is still struggling to build its first indigenous carrier Vikrant, being constructed at the state-owned Cochin Shipyard Limited.

China's first domestically built aircraft carrier. ( Reuters Photo )

The construction of the Indian carrier began in 2009 and it was launched in 2013. The Indian Navy said the carrier would be commissioned in 2018 but a report by the national auditor contradicted the claim, stating that the project is years behind schedule.

The Indian Navy has been operating aircraft carriers for several decades. INS Vikrant, bought from the UK, was commissioned as the Indian Navy’s first carrier in 1961. It was retired in 1997.

India retired its second aircraft carrier INS Viraat earlier this year. The second-hand British warship was inducted in 1987.

China had no aircraft carrier till 2012. The Chinese navy commissioned its first aircraft carrier Liaoning -- a discarded vessel bought from Ukraine – five years ago after extensive refits. Liaoning is a Soviet-era Kuznetsov-class carrier and the new carrier is reportedly based on the same design.

The newly-built aircraft carrier is transferred from dry dock into the water at a launch ceremony at a shipyard in Dalian. ( AP Photo )

However, China is now swiftly catching up and may also streak ahead of India in the coming years but Beijing is yet to catch up to Delhi in operating these complex floating airfields.

Type 001A
  • Displacement:
    70,000 tonnes
  • Dimensions:
    315 metres by 75 metres
  • Aircraft:
    J-15 fighters, helicopters
  • Commissioning:
  • What next:
    China plans to operate a fleet of five to six aircraft carriers over the next decade.
  • Displacement:
    37,500 tonnes
  • Dimensions:
    260 metres by 60 metres
  • Aircraft:
    Mig-29K, helicopters
  • Commissioning:
    2018 but may be delayed
INS Vikramaditya
  • Displacement:
  • Dimensions:
    284 metres by 60 metres
  • Aircraft:
    Mig-29K, heliopters
  • Commissioned:
  • What next?
    The Indian Navy plans to deploy two carrier strike groups over the next four to five years. The navy is exploring the possibility of a second indigenous aircraft carrier.

First Published: Apr 27, 2017 07:50 IST