The first clear images of the Type 002 carrier, Shāndōng (17) have been released as the vessel was commissioned yesterday into PLAN service. The vessel, China’s second semi-operational flattop after the old Soviet-made Liaoning (ex-Varyag), and the first to be domestically-built, is conventionally-powered.
From the South China Morning Post
With a 70,000-ton displacement, she is larger than any other carrier in service save for nuclear-powered U.S. Nimitz and Ford-class supercarriers and is roughly about the same size as the old Forrestal-class CVAs– but only carry about half of the airwing. It is further argued that her airwing, restricted to a ski-jump, cannot maintain the same sortie rate as a U.S. ship.
Her commissioning was attended by President Xi Jinping, and it is expected the PLAN will have a four carrier fleet within a decade.
Meanwhile, PCU John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), the U.S. Navy’s newest nuclear-powered Ford-class carrier, was quietly launched into the James River this week.
This week saw the christening of the new Ford-class carrier, USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) sponsored by no less a person than Caroline B. Kennedy, JFK’s daughter, and the late President’s only living child.
As you may well remember, a smaller Ms. Caroline also sponsored the new Kitty Hawk-class supercarrier, USS John F. Kennedy (CVA-67) in May 1967, some 52 years ago.
While CVN-79 is expected to be completed in 2022, CV-67 has been on red lead row since 2007 and is nominally set to be preserved as a museum ship.
Meanwhile, in Portsmouth, HMS Prince of Wales (R09) was commissioned this week as the Royal Navy’s second 65,000-ton Queen Elizabeth-class carrier, the largest class of warships ever to carry the White Ensign.
Aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth at Portsmouth this week
The last HMS Prince of Wales (53), a King George V-class battleship, was famously lost 77 years ago this week on 10 December 1941 by Japanese air attack off Kuantan, in the South China Sea
The stricken battleship’s original bell, salvaged in 2002, is on permanent display in the National Museum of the Royal Navy’s gallery.
The relic will be scanned and cast by Cammell Laird to provide a new bell for the aircraft carrier that bears her name.
The first crew members for aircraft carrier PCU John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) have arrived at Newport News Shipbuilding and the unit has stood up.
The 100,000-ton+ behemoth is the second in the Ford-class and is expected to take to the water later this year at launching. Commissioning is set for 2024, which hopefully is enough time to get the bugs worked out of the series.
The huge new RN carrier and pending flag, HMS Queen Elizabeth, prepares to sail from Rosyth dockyard for the first time to begin sea trials after seven years of construction. The 65,000-ton carrier is the largest warship ever constructed for the Royal Navy.
HMS Queen Elizabeth, left, next to the stricken Harrier carrier HMS Illustrious while under construction. The Queen is more than three times Lusty’s size.
Meanwhile, the Ford-class supercarrier PCU John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) has reached 50 percent structural completion this week with her 70-foot long lower stern lifted into place at Newport News Shipbuilding using the company’s 1,050-metric ton gantry crane. The carrier is on track to be completed with 445 sectional lifts, 51 fewer than Ford and 149 less than USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), the last Nimitz-class carrier.