04 Aug 16. China’s third aircraft carrier likely to be fitted with catapults. A photograph has emerged on Chinese online forums showing that China’s land-based aircraft carrier mock-up in Wuhan, Hubei Province, is undergoing modifications.
These are likely to reflect changes between China’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, the Type 001A, which is currently being built at Dalian shipyard and the next one to be constructed, which is commonly referred to as the Type 002.
Most significantly the ski-jump section has been removed from the mock-up, reinforcing expectations that China’s third carrier will be equipped with catapults.
Construction of China’s third carrier is expected to take place at the Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard near Shanghai. So far there has been no official confirmation of the programme nor visible evidence of the construction, but there has been considerable speculation that production of the initial modules is already in progress.
Satellite imagery of the Huangdicun Airbase, which supports China’s J-15 carrier-based aircraft, reveals that construction of the facilities assessed to be catapults commenced in 2015. This is a further indication that future Chinese carriers will have a configuration for catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) operations.
The two systems being installed at Huangdicun are believed to be steam-powered and electromagnetic catapults. Installation of both suggests that a final decision on which system to adopt may not yet have been taken.
The latest unofficial images of the Type 001A carrier at Dalian show a ski-jump section designed for short take-off operations; similar to that on China’s first carrier Liaoning .
Construction of the structure up to the flight deck is largely complete, with the final ski-jump module assembled and ready for installation.
The addition of modules to form the island should follow before the carrier’s launch, which at the current rate of progress could take place before the end of 2016, although early 2017 is more likely.
(Source: IHS Jane’s)
05 Aug 16. RIMPAC 2016: ANZAC frigate HMAS Ballarat proves out anti-ship missile upgrades. Key Points:
• HMAS Ballarat has successfully launched two Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles simultaneously
• Launch proves out the platform’s recently completed anti-ship missile defence upgrades
The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) ANZAC (MEKO 200)-class guided-missile frigate HMAS Ballarat (155) has successfully demonstrated its latest anti-ship missile defence capabilities during a live-fire exercise in the waters off Hawaii, the service disclosed on 4 August.
The exercise, which included the firing of three RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSMs), was conducted as part of the US Pacific Fleet-hosted Rim of the Pacific (‘RIMPAC’) 2016 international maritime drills. Two of the missiles were fired simultaneously, said the RAN.
Also conducted during the tests, were a launch of Ballarat ‘s Harpoon anti-ship missile, and two Hellfire missiles from the platform’s embarked MH-60R Seahawk helicopter.
Ballarat received a number of upgrades to improve its anti-ship missile defence capabilities in 2015. These included the installation of the CEAFAR S-band active phased-array radar, the CEAMOUNT X-band multichannel active phased-array missile fire-control illuminator, the Saab Systems 9LV 453 combat management system, and the Sagem Vampir NG infrared search-and-track system.
These upgrades enable the frigate to identify, track and guide its ESSMs simultaneously, as per what was demonstrated at ‘RIMPAC’ 2016. According to the RAN, the missiles successfully terminated their designated targets during the exercise that was conducted on 14 July.
Australia has been participating in the ‘RIMPAC’ series of exercises since 1971. Besides Ballarat , other participating assets from Australia include three AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, the RAN’s lead Canberra-class amphibious assault ship (L02) and anothe