ÇHina’s third aircraft carrier was due to launch on April 23 to mark this year’s People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) Navy Day. However, it was delayed by more than two months due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Shanghai. Larger than the previous two aircraft carriers, the third aircraft carrier – Enter 003 – later projected to be released as early as June 3, which coincides with the Dragon Boat Festival.
Satellite images from the US-based think-tank CSIS, dated May 31, showed that the dry dock where the Type-003 was positioned has been cleared of other shipbuilding projects, leaving an open path for the last carrier. planes enter the Yangtze River. But the date for China’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier appears to have been pushed back again until June 30.
Unlike its sister aircraft carriers Liaoning and Shandong Soviet “sky-jump” technology from Shandong, Type-003 will use the CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) system for launching and retrieving aircraft from the deck of a carrier. -planes, such as the one used by the US This will allow China to launch a variety of fixed-wing aircraft with heavier payloads and more fuel
There are two types of CATOBAR systems – steam and electromagnetic. While most CATOBAR systems are steam powered, only the new Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier class of the US Navy and the Charles de Gaulle of France use electromagnetic catapults called EMALS (Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System). Type-003 will use similar electromagnetic catapult.
However, unlike America’s EMALS, Chinese engineers have successfully developed a new electromagnetic catapult technology called IEP (Integrated Electric Propulsion) system. This allows China’s third aircraft carrier to not only have the “flattop” design, but also use an electromagnetic catapult system – even if it doesn’t have a nuclear reactor (all US aircraft carriers are nuclear-powered).
The Chinese IPS is designed to significantly increase the fuel efficiency of the carrier’s conventional power plant. Another reason why China did not copy EMALS – the unreliable of US electromagnetic catapults. In May 2017, President Donald Trump criticized EMALS during an interview with Time, saying how EMALS costs hundreds of millions of dollars more, but with critical flaws.
O progress of the Type-003 is quite impressive considering it was only in 2019 that the carrier Shandong entered service, about 7 years after Liaoning entered service in 2012. The Liaoning, which was purchased from Ukraine in 1998, was upgraded by China before of commissioning in 2012. So what’s the problem with the third Chinese aircraft carrier?
It’s a big deal because while it took China between 5-7 years to learn Soviet technology before domestically manufacturing Shandong in 2015, it took even less time (construction at Jiangnan Shipyard began in 2018) to build its own. “second generation” aircraft carrier capable of rivaling US aircraft launch technology.
The Type-003 will be the first Chinese aircraft carrier to use not only CATOBAR and electromagnetic catapults, but also the world’s first aircraft carrier with an Integrated Propulsion System (IPS) – a system that uses turbines and generators to help engines turn a ship’s propeller or impeller – which allows enough power for an electromagnetic catapult.
Crucially, the new IPS will allow the Type-003 to be armed with high power consumption. laser gun electromagnetic systems and weapons. Contrary to old belief, the latest aircraft carrier shows that China does not need to copy the US and use nuclear reactors to support EMALS and other energy-hungry weapons on the ship. Now it has more advanced technologies to solve problems.
Matthew Funaiole, a senior fellow at CSIS’s China Project, said the Type-003 (likely to be operational in 2024) would be the “first foray by the Chinese military into a modern carrier.” He said – “This is a pretty significant step forward. They’ve really committed to building a carrier program and they continue to push the limits of what they’re capable of doing.”
Known for its fast construction processes, the fourth Chinese aircraft carrier, believed to be the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, will be even faster to build. Funaiole said the Type-003’s progress points towards the fourth, fifth and maybe even a sixth carrier. Analysts who laughed at Liaoning and Shandong should realize that these two operators are really training platforms.
The Type-003 (with displacement of 80,000-100,000 tons) and subsequent carriers are the real challenge for the US -31 / FC-31) stealth fighter jets. The Xian KJ-600 early warning aircraft, the Z-20F helicopter and the upgraded J-15T fighter are all ready for the third aircraft carrier.
However, China’s focus is not just on the aircraft carrier, a game the US dominated decades ago. To be ahead of its rival, it has just launched the most advanced big unmanned ship – Zhu Hai Yun – on May 18 that can be remotely controlled and navigate autonomously. The drone ship carries 50 unmanned systems, including drones, boats, submersibles and other craft.
Built by the Research Institute of China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited (CSSC), the gigantic drone ship features a high-speed “trimaran hydrofoil” design. It is 88.5 meters long, 14 meters wide and 6.1 meters deep, with a projected displacement of 2,000 tons. the drone mothership can sail at 13 knots (24 km per hour), with a top speed of 18 knots (33 km per hour).
Considered the first drone ship of its kind, China deliberately downplayed Zhu Hai Yun’s role as a ship that conducts ocean search. But the new ship, powered by the Intelligent Mobile Ocean Stereo Observing System (IMOSOS), developed by the Southern Guangdong (Zhuhai) Marine Science and Engineering Laboratory, can definitely be deployed for intelligence gathering – even military missions.
Construction of the Zhu Hai Yun began in July 2021, with delivery expected later this year. According to lead designer Fan Lei, the power systems, propulsion systems, intelligence systems and research operation support systems are all independently researched and developed by China. Although the ship’s actual capabilities are Ultra-secret, there is concern that it is vulnerable to interference and hijacking.
The drone ship is not designed to autonomously navigate busy seaports, at least not now, but will be remotely navigated until it reaches open water. From there, the AI (Artificial Intelligence) system will take over and execute pre-programmed missions. The most immediate benefit for China is the knowledge gained about relevant waters through data collection by UUVs.
Valuable data collected and analyzed by UUVs (Unmanned Undersea Vehicles) can help Chinese submarines operate more efficiently and effectively, as well as instill greater confidence in the region. But the AI-powered drone carrier is more than an expensive toy for marine disaster prevention and mitigation, seafloor mapping, and maritime search and rescue.
Military analysts believe the intelligent “mothership” could launch swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) not just for reconnaissance and maritime surveillance operations, but for crippled Taiwan’s defense system. Last month, a former Taiwanese naval official revealed that China had created mockups of a Taiwanese port and military vessel as targets for testing its ballistic missiles.
In addition to a diverse arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles that could be used to neutralize US bases across the Pacific region, China-led war games show the value offered by swarms of relatively low-cost networked drones with a high degree of autonomy. To prevent the Chinese invasion, Taiwan adopted a dogged defense strategy – the “porcupine war”.
Instead of buying expensive conventional equipment such as tanks, warships and submarines – which are difficult to hide and easy to attack with a missile – a “Hedgehog” strategy would focus on agility and concealable weapons such as the Javelin and Stinger portable missiles. The deployment of hundreds of anti-ship, land-attack and anti-aircraft missiles are like porcupine quills.
To avoid excessive human casualties and the loss of expensive military resources, China’s development of drone swarm capabilities could be part of its strategy to defeat Taiwan’s “hedgehog” defensive strategy. Hundreds – even thousands – of cheap drones that can talk to each other can invade and overwhelm Taiwan’s defense, forcing it to prematurely activate your air defense.
A second round of kamikaze drones or ballistic missiles can be deployed to attack critical Taiwanese military targets once the location of their defensive positions is revealed. The future war is all about drones. Days ago, images of drones of different types on the deck of the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong raised the eyebrows of Western military analysts.
It looks like even a training aircraft carrier like Shandong could be transformed on a lethal ship loading it with drones that could operate together in networked swarms. The Voice of America said that deploying vertical take-off and landing drones on aircraft carriers was originally a US idea, but it appears that China has surpassed the US in turning the idea into a reality.
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June 7, 2022 by financetwitter