Chinese engineers have developed a new propulsion system for the country’s second home-made aircraft carrier, which could equip the conventionally powered warship with the world’s most advanced jet launch system along with newer weapons, according to Chinese military experts.
A research team led by the country’s top naval engineer, Ma Weiming, have developed a medium-voltage, direct-current transmission network to replace the older alternating current system for the country’s second domestically-built Type 002 carrier, which could provide more power for its electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday.
The Liaoning, and its sister warship, the Type-001A, which is the country’s first home-made aircraft carrier, are both conventionally powered and use a Soviet-designed ski-jump, steam-catapult launch system, said the report.
The EMALS could hold wear and tear on the planes to a minimum and allow for the launching of more aircraft in a shorter time period than with the older launch system, a major developmental shift in Chinese aircraft carrier construction, Zhang Ye, a research fellow at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Naval Research Institute, told the Global Times on Sunday.
With China’s newly developed integrated propulsion system (IPS), its warships could handle EMALS and laser-weapons without turning to nuclear power, said Li Jie, a Beijing naval expert.
The most interesting part of the new system is its intelligent power distribution, which can support the use of high power-consuming weapons, such as electromagnetic guns, and solve the power shortage problems of older vessels, Song Zhongping, a Phoenix TV commentator and military expert, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Li also noted that the IPS could be used on other large warships, including the PLA Navy’s new destroyer, 055.
Other experts have added that nuclear-powered aircraft carriers could be China’s next goal in this field.
But, at the present stage, it has not mastered the technology and has problems to overcome, such as the power generator miniaturization and waste treatment, Li said.
The PLA’s Naval branch has run “hundreds of tests” using the EMALS with China’s J-15 fighter jets, Yin Zhuo, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Equipment Research Center, told the China Central Television on Friday.
Yin said that a conventional power system with the new IPS applied could convert power more efficiently than for a nuclear-powered vessel.