With a foreign reactor China will create a nuclear carrier

China is creating its own nuclear-powered aircraft carrier using Russian technological innovations and know-how in the field of nuclear weapons, the American analytical publication The National Interest reports

Source: Anthony Wallace /AFP/Getty Images

Russia invited China to participate in a tender for the construction of a new class of nuclear icebreaker, which will necessarily require the development of reactors – and Beijing will use this to create its own nuclear carrier. According to analysts, the Chinese want to launch an aircraft carrier, comparable in size and characteristics to American ships like the Gerald R. Ford.


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China is creating its own nuclear-powered aircraft carrier using Russian technological innovations and know-how in the field of nuclear weapons, the American analytical publication The National Interest reports.

China is already studying nuclear reactors at Russia’s largest icebreakers. In particular, Moscow invited Beijing to take part in a tender for the construction of a new class of nuclear icebreaker, which will necessarily require the development of reactors.

“This approach is different from the way the United States and France designed nuclear reactors for their largest ships, but it probably represents the best tactics for China at the moment,” writes article writer Robert Farley.

The Chinese want to create an aircraft carrier that is comparable in size and performance with American multipurpose nuclear aircraft carriers such as Gerald R. Ford.

“The fact that the Russians agree to allow the Chinese to study their icebreakers, once again suggests that Moscow and Beijing are currently considering mutual cooperation as a long-term interest.

Of course, nothing can be said definitely until the first nuclear carrier of China actually goes into operation – sometime in 2030, ”the analyst points out.

In April of this year, China demonstrated sea trials of the 001A aircraft carrier, the first such ship created exclusively by the country. The video was posted on Twitter by the People’s Daily.

Judging by the photos published by the Chinese media, at the moment they are nearing the end of work on coating the deck of an aircraft carrier. The claimed composition has a two-component base that increases the coefficient of friction and overall resistance to various types of influences.

Coverage, as noted by local journalists, can effectively reduce the momentum of a fighter boarding a deck at speeds of up to 300 km / h. In addition, it provides high-quality anti-skid during takeoff of aircraft from the aircraft carrier.

The composition of the coating, according to Chinese media, is resistant to sea water, fuels and lubricants and other aggressive environments. The material is designed for 1.5 thousand takeoffs and landings of fighter jets.

The construction of the first Chinese aircraft carrier of its own production began in November 2013. The ship, modeled after its predecessor Liaoning, is the second aircraft carrier in China. The vessel, named, presumably, in honor of the mantis shrimp Pipixia, should take up combat duty no earlier than 2020.

The ship can accommodate up to 48 aircraft and helicopters. Its displacement is 55-70 thousand tons, length – 315 meters, width – 75 meters. It reaches a maximum speed of 31 knots. The ship was first launched on April 26, 2017.

“The second Chinese aircraft carrier was launched on the morning of April 26 in the port of Dalian,” the Xinhua News Agency said in a statement.

The ceremony was attended by Deputy Chairman of the Central Military Council Fan Changlong. After the ribbon was cut, they smashed a bottle of champagne, they told on China Central Television.

In this regard, The National Interest columnist David Ex warned about the consequences of cooperation between Russia and China in the production of atomic icebreakers.

As noted, the PRC itself would have come in handy, but Beijing would also have the opportunity to improve the technology of reactors, which would be needed in the future for nuclear aircraft carriers. At present, China has two aircraft carriers with a non-nuclear power plant and is building a third.

According to Chinese experts, Beijing needs a more powerful nuclear carrier to be competitive. The country’s military experts agree that China is not strong in nuclear miniaturization and could learn from Russia.

Ex notes that in June last year, the Russian side invited the Chinese corporation to participate in a tender related to the project of an atomic icebreaker operating on modular reactors. The expert believes that Russia has the technology, but there is no money, while China has the opposite situation.

If the parties cooperate, the PRC will approach the launch of a nuclear aircraft carrier. It is estimated that by the mid-2030s, Beijing could have six aircraft carriers at its disposal.

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