China's first indigenous aircraft carrier nearing completion

7:06:00 PM
BEIJING, -- Airbus Defence and Space imagery captured on 11 August 2016 shows significant activity related to China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) projects at Dalian Shipyard, including the assembly of the country's first indigenous aircraft carrier (CV), the Type 001A, and the production of Type 052D guided-missile destroyers (DDGs).

The imagery shows that, with the addition of the bow section and other exterior components, the assembly of the Type 001A CV is nearly complete. Two of the component fabrication areas adjacent to the dry dock are largely clear of materials, indicating that work on the Type 001A hull is nearing an end. Few uninstalled components remain present, including the forward aircraft elevator.

Additional components awaiting installation relate to the superstructure. Two modules, consisting of portions of the forward and aft sections of the superstructure, can be seen in one of the component fabrication areas.

Apart from sections of deck plating, which remain uninstalled to facilitate access to internal areas, the superstructure is the final significant external feature awaiting installation. The presence of superstructure modules suggests installation could occur in the near term.

Across the harbour from the Type 001A's dry dock, work on Dalian's three Type 052D DDG hulls is progressing. One hull remains in dry dock, with two pier side. The first hull is visibly complete and is undergoing sea trials, while the second hull, launched on 3 August 2016, awaits the installation of various components.

Berthed at the northern end of the ship yard, the second hull lacks many sensor and weapon fittings. Notably absent are the forward 130 mm gun, the forward vertical launch system, and various sensor fittings, including the Type 366 radar mounted atop the bridge.

The Airbus Defence and Space imagery showing the Type 001A hull in dry dock at Dalian. The hull is largely complete, with just one aircraft elevator, superstructure, and some deck sections left to be added.

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