March to the top! Today, China strides into a new era!

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Author: Rong ping source: official account: Rong Ping (id:rongping898) has been authorized to reprint

The launch of No. 003, China’s entry into the era of super aircraft carriers, is not only a strategic event, but also a technological event: Although there is still a certain distance from the United States, there is no problem that China’s aircraft carrier’s industrial production level is basically in the first echelon in the world. This is not only because China has become the second country in the world that can manufacture heavy aircraft carriers, but also because it is not inferior to the key technology support of the United States.

Compared with Liaoning ship and Shandong ship, the most intuitive change of 003 is that the displacement is larger, the deck area is wider, and the sliding jump deck has become a flat deck. The aviation combat department is undoubtedly the direct beneficiary of these three changes. After all, more fighters can stay on the deck.


This is the top view of the Nimitz class aircraft carrier.

It can be clearly seen from the figure that the bow of the flat deck can provide a large number of stands for carrier based aircraft, up to the number of a fighter squadron, i.e. 12~16. The only function of the 14 Ā° upturned deck is to provide rising power for the carrier aircraft, but it cannot be used as a parking stand. This is equivalent to nearly one fifth of the deck space has been idle, and the number of carrier aircraft has been greatly reduced.


Concept map of Liaoning ship and Shandong ship, the ski jump bow can not dock the carrier aircraft

The greater the number of aircraft on the deck is of practical significance, which involves another factor that determines the outcome of air combat: attendance!

In the same unit time, the higher the attendance rate, the more fighters will be released, and the stronger the air suppression force will be formed. On land, the aircraft attendance rate depends on the hangar; On the offshore platform, the attendance rate of fighter aircraft is biased towards the number of downtime on the deck.

Because the hangar and runway on land belong to horizontal space, the fighters can quickly turn to the takeoff runway after coming out of the hangar.

If the number of carrier aircraft on the aircraft carrier is not enough, the aircraft in the hangar must be towed. However, the hangar and runway of the aircraft carrier belong to the longitudinal space. The aircraft in the hangar need to be transported to the flight deck by elevator and then towed to the waiting for flight or take-off position. The whole process operation is very complex and will take a lot of time. If the focus of the take-off carrier is all on the hangar, the aviation combat power of the fleet will undoubtedly be greatly reduced. Therefore, during the actual operation of the aircraft carrier, the aircraft used for combat readiness are mostly on the deck. The aircraft in the hangar will not be used unless the number of take-off is insufficient or a second wave of attack has to be organized.

On the other hand, the carrier aircraft preparation work is usually completed on the deck. The reason is not complicated: the hangar is a closed space, and the carrier aircraft filling aviation fuel and loading various missiles are dangerous work. Once a dangerous accident occurs, the damage management work will be difficult to do, and it will affect the overall performance of the carrier!

This situation is even more dangerous in wartime. In the Midway Island film of the decisive battle, which was released in 2019, the Japanese fighter plane was originally loaded with ground bombing ammunition. After the sudden attack of the US military, the Japanese commander ordered the fighter plane to change air combat weapons in the hangar. The result was that all kinds of ammunition in the hangar were killed and exploded by a US bomb, and the aircraft carrier was instantly cool. These are all lessons of blood and tears.


Stills, decisive battle on Midway Island

Of course, the most eye-catching black technology is the electromagnetic catapult, which can not envy the sliding jump aircraft carrier for its improvement of the fleet’s aviation combat capability.

In addition to the fact that the number of stands on the deck is significantly less than that of the flat aircraft carrier, the sliding jump aircraft carrier also has two weaknesses.

The first is that the carrier aircraft is full of oil

The heavy carrier aircraft can not take off with full load has always been a big problem that puzzles the sliding jump aircraft carrier. The land-based J-15 has a combat radius of 1500km, and there are only 700km left after boarding the ship. The Bumblebee taking off with ejection is 100km more than the J-15 under full load, and the gust has the longest combat radius, about 1200km.

Carrier based aircraft is the core attack platform of aircraft carrier battle group. Its shorter operational radius affects the strike distance and safety distance of the whole fleet.

In fact, the carrier based aircraft of the sliding jump aircraft carrier can take off close to full load, but it needs to make a choice between attendance and strike distance!


The picture is a bit blurred. Please forgive me

The above figure shows the three take-off points of the Liaoning ship, which is composed of two take-off runways.

Take off point 1 and take-off point 2 are located on the left and right below the bow, with a length of 105 meters. Take-off point 3 and take-off point 2 use the same runway. The take-off distance is 195 meters at 90 meters to the left of take-off point 2. All three take-off points use the ski jump deck of the bow.

The advantage of waiting to fly at take-off point 1 and take-off point 2 is that the attendance rate is high. It can not only release two carrier aircraft in a short time, but also does not affect the recovery task. The disadvantage is that the take-off distance is only 105 meters. It is necessary to reduce the fuel load and bomb load, thus shortening the aviation strike distance.

The advantage of taking off at take-off point 3 is to gain an additional take-off distance of 90 meters, which can be close to full load take-off, but the disadvantage is that the attendance rate will be reduced by epic.

Point 2 and point 3 are on the same take-off line. Point 3 is flying. Point 2 is certainly useless. Moreover, the right deck of the sliding jump aircraft carrier is tilted up. When landing, the carrier aircraft can only rely on the flat deck on the left. Point 3 is just behind the left deck, which means that the carrier cannot recover the carrier aircraft when point 3 is flying.

This defect is not a big problem for other small and medium-sized aircraft carriers or amphibious attack ships, but it is somewhat difficult for US aircraft carriers to take off.


The above picture shows the takeoff points of Nimitz class and Ford class aircraft carriers.

Both the left and right decks can take off. There are four take-off points and four take-off lines. Four carrier based aircraft can take off in a short time. However, whether Liaoning ship is flying at point 2 or point 3, it is the limit to release two carrier aircraft.

From a comprehensive comparison, it takes about 30 minutes for the Liaoning warship to release 24 J-15 fighters, while when the four take-off points of the Ford class aircraft carrier work at the same time, theoretically it can reach 50 in 35 minutes, almost twice as many as ours!


The second is the inability to take off large fixed carrier aircraft

Due to the limitation of take-off weight, the glide jump aircraft carrier can not take off large fixed wing carrier aircraft, and modern air combat is very dependent on the command and vision of early warning aircraft. In order to make up for this defect, early users of the ski jump aircraft carrier decided to use large helicopters that do not rely on the runway to take off as early warning aircraft.

However, it only solves the problem from scratch, and cannot solve the problem of strengthening the systematic operation of carrier aircraft!

Even if the internal electronic equipment of the early warning helicopter is more advanced, it can not be compared with the fixed wing early warning function in terms of speed, range and maximum ceiling. The famous ka-31 early warning helicopter has a maximum speed of 250km/h and a cruising speed of 205km/h, which is far lower than the average cruising speed of the carrier aircraft of 300km~800km; The maximum range is 600km, 168km less than the operational radius of Su 33; The maximum ceiling is 5000km, and the air combat range of carrier aircraft is possible from 300 meters to 10000 meters.

Obviously, it is difficult for early warning helicopters to keep up with the high-intensity air combat of fighters!

There are no such problems with the fixed wing shipborne early warning aircraft. The maximum speed of the American eagle eye e2c is 648km/h, and the cruising speed is 478km/h, which can basically keep up with the pace of fighters; The range is 2700km, the maximum dead time is 4~6 hours, and the maximum ceiling is 9390 meters.

The patrol route of the early warning aircraft is generally elliptical and closed. The faster the speed, the shorter the patrol time, and the higher the refresh frequency of the enemy situation; The larger the range, the larger the area that can be covered in a single sortie; The higher you fly, the wider the three-dimensional airspace you can monitor!


The higher the altitude of the aircraft, the greater the amplitude of the oblique cut of the detection wave and the wider the detection range

The takeoff weight will also affect the operational efficiency. The maximum takeoff weight of China’s zhi18 is 13.8 tons, that of Russia’s ka31 is 12.2 tons, that of Britain’s crownest is 15.8 tons, and that of the United States’ e2c is 26 tons, which can accommodate more and more powerful electronic equipment. The comprehensive combat capability endowed by this is naturally not comparable to that of early warning helicopters.

Public information shows that e2c has a detection range of more than 550km for large targets and 270km for cruise missiles. It can track 2000 targets and command 40 batches of interception tasks at the same time. The corresponding values of card 31 are 250K, 110km and 200 respectively.

The same is true of the difference between the antisubmarine helicopter and the fixed wing antisubmarine patrol aircraft!

In other words, the glide jump aircraft carrier is not only inferior to the flat aircraft carrier in terms of attendance, but also inferior in terms of systematic air combat and other auxiliary detection. Now, with the launch of No. 003, all these shortcomings are about to be solved.


Of course, electromagnetic ejection itself has also given a strong shock to foreign countries. China’s armament development route has always been a small step, fast and steady, with few examples of overtaking in curves. After the Liaoning ship was put into service, it was speculated that the first domestic aircraft carrier was a 80000 ton flat aircraft carrier, but the Shandong ship was almost carved out of the same mold as the Liaoning ship; After the Shandong warship was put into service, people guessed that 003 was a straight nuclear powered aircraft carrier with more than 80000 tons. The first two guessed correctly, but the power was conventional power.

According to the above ideas, the catapult should first go through the traditional steam ejection and then electromagnetic ejection, but the reality is that it is simply one step in place. This is not only a reflection of our high confidence in the application of new technologies, but also a reflection of our determination to catch up with the world’s advanced level.


Electromagnetic ejection gives the aircraft carrier more comprehensive operational performance than traditional steam ejection.

For example, in terms of structure, the working principle of steam ejection is to convert the high-temperature steam energy into the energy to pull the aircraft to take off. In this process, it is necessary to manufacture, store and transport high-pressure and high-temperature steam. The whole system includes tens of thousands of pipeline valves and various parts. Due to the particularity of steam, the steam cylinder used for ejection must be installed as a whole, which brings three problems.

First, the volume is huge. Taking the c-13-2 steam catapult installed by the U.S. Navy as an example, it has a volume of 1000 cubic meters and a total weight of more than 500 tons; The electromagnetic ejection adopts a modular design that can be disassembled and installed separately. Different parts can be loaded and unloaded in sections. The parts are connected by cables or sensors. The total amount is less than 230 tons, and the volume is only 425 cubic meters. The 565 cubic meters of space saved can just place 2~3 more heavy fixed wing carrier based aircraft or a large fixed wing early warning aircraft or anti submarine patrol aircraft.

Second, the failure rate is high. All engineering friends know that the major failure rate of modular design products is lower than that of overall design products, because the former is replaced immediately when a part breaks down, which does not affect the overall work, while the latter is repaired at the cost of system shutdown when a part breaks down.

The power source of steam ejection is fresh water, but the aircraft carrier is a platform for operations on the sea. It is impossible for it to carry a large amount of fresh water. Therefore, it is necessary to pump water from the sea for desalination. However, the sea water is corrosive to a certain extent, and it is easy to corrode the pipeline and cause damage over time.

According to the data of the U.S. Navy damage management department, the average period between two major failures of the Nimitz class aircraft carrier with steam ejection is 405 weeks, while that of the Ford class aircraft carrier with electromagnetic ejection is 1300 weeks. Whether it is the difficulty of maintenance or the major fault cycle law, the final impact is actually the combat effectiveness of the aviation combat department, that is, the core combat effectiveness of the aircraft carrier fleet!


Steam catapult

Third, the maintenance personnel account for a large proportion and the cost is high. The number of catapult Department of Nimitz class aircraft carrier is almost 500, nearly one tenth of the total number of the fleet, and that of Ford class aircraft carrier is 300. Many maintenance personnel and high major failure rate mean high maintenance costs.

In the early years, the maintenance cost of the aircraft carrier Washington was about $2.8 billion, of which the maintenance cost of the ejection system was $1.1 billion, accounting for 40% of the total cost.

In an interview with Time magazine in may2017, trump threatened to change the newly built Ford class aircraft carrier back to the steam ejection mode. The reason was that the electromagnetic ejection system was too expensive and the failure rate was high. It was a waste of money to throw money into it.

Later, the U.S. Navy Department threw out a financial report. If the 50 year cycle of nuclear powered aircraft carrier is used, the maintenance cost of steam ejection system will be $4billion higher than that of electromagnetic ejection! This money is used for internal procurement, which can equip a wing with about 60 F35.


For another example, in terms of energy conversion efficiency, water vapor is volatile, and a large part of energy will be lost after long pipeline transmission. The energy from the nuclear reactor output to the aircraft is only about 6% of the initial power. However, the electromagnetic ejection system is a straight-line motor, with small energy loss during transmission, and the final actual utilization rate is as high as 60%.

The higher the energy conversion efficiency, the stronger the elasticity to the aircraft. According to calculation, under the condition of constant average acceleration, the aircraft load rate of electromagnetic ejection is at least 8% higher than that of steam ejection.

In a word, electromagnetic ejection is a very good and excellent equipment and the future of aircraft carrier ejection system!


If there is any regret to say, it must be that the aircraft carrier 003 did not have nuclear power, but this is a reasonable thing. China’s power nuclear reactor technology has accumulated, but the nuclear reactor driving the aircraft carrier is much more complicated than the nuclear submarine in terms of technical difficulty and operating environment. One is a gadget of less than 10000 tons, the other is a behemoth of more than 80000 tons, and the aviation system. How can it be universal?

At the beginning, in order to show the courage of its skilled people, France insisted on moving the reactor of the triumph class strategic missile nuclear submarine. As a result, the nuclear submarine with a full load displacement of only 40000 tons had a maximum speed of 27 knots, which was inferior to the conventional aircraft carrier. It was simply a slippery thing in the world.

However, in addition to providing a powerful and stable power source for the electromagnetic ejection system, the actual combat significance of the nuclear powered aircraft carrier is not particularly strong. The key point is: the signboard function of the nuclear powered aircraft carrier is unlimited endurance, but the soldiers on the ship can not be infinitely prepared for war. Other auxiliary warships are also conventional powered and need to rest. It is impossible for your aircraft carrier to leave the soldiers and auxiliary warships to fight alone with others. Therefore, nuclear power is important, but it is not necessary to be too demanding.


Launching ceremony of the first domestic aircraft carrier Shandong

The launching date of the aircraft carrier 003 is the 55th anniversary of the explosion of China’s first hydrogen bomb and the 10th year of the service of China’s first aircraft carrier.

Looking back at the development of China’s navy in the past decade, it can be said that it has undergone great changes. Before 2012, China did not have an aircraft carrier, and there will be three in 2022. Liaoning warship has solved the problem of Chinese aircraft carriers from scratch, Shandong warship has solved the problem of Chinese aircraft carriers’ normalization for war preparation, and Fujian warship will begin to solve the problem of the gap between Chinese aircraft carriers and the world’s top level.


Perhaps in the history books many years later, this day, June 17, 2022, will become a milestone for the Chinese navy to catch up with and surpass the United States!

At the end of the article, the author has something to say

From Liaoning ship to Fujian ship, the three names carry three sections of history that Chinese people cannot forget!

In November, 1894, the Qing army suffered a disastrous defeat in the Sino Japanese Sino Japanese naval battle of 1894 and 1894, and then the Japanese army launched the crazy Lushun massacre;

In January, 1895, the Sino Japanese Sino Japanese naval battle of 1895 and the battle of Weihaiwei in Shandong Province, the Qing army was defeated miserably, the Beiyang navy was completely annihilated, and the gateway to the capital was opened;

In July, 1884, during the Sino French naval battle on Mawei island in Fujian, the Fujian navy was defeated miserably and 521 people were killed!

Remember history and national humiliation!

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