A recently published image of modifications made to China’s land-based aircraft carrier development facility at Wuhan reflects the ongoing work supporting the development of the country’s third aircraft carrier, commonly known as the Type 002.
Published in Chinese online forums in early September, the image shows that the height of the island's forward upper superstructure on the carrier mock-up has been increased to facilitate faring in the array panels of the phased array radar.
In addition, the smaller square apertures above those for the main array panels suggest that the Type 002 may be equipped with a dual-band, phased-array radar: a configuration that appears to be similar to that on China’s Type 055 destroyers, the first of which was launched in June.
The main mast, which sits on top of the forward island superstructure, has also been modified on the Wuhan mock-up, and is surmounted by what may be an antenna stack. The configuration of this is speculative at this stage but might include antennas for V/UHF communications, data links and air navigation.
This differs from China’s Type 001A aircraft carrier, which was launched in April 2017 and is currently fitting out in Dalian. Although it has yet to have most of its antennas and sensors installed on the superstructure and main mast, the Type 001A is likely to be equipped with a rotating H/LJQ 382 3-D search radar similar to that fitted on China’s first aircraft carrier: the refurbished Kuznetsov-class Liaoning (CV16).
The H/LJQ 382 radar features the distinctive skewed back-to-back planar arrays derived from the Russian-designed Fregat-M2EM 'Top Plate' radar system.
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