On 26 April, the Chinese floated out their second aircraft carrier. Although the project had long been known thanks to satellite photos, the public appearance of this first entirely Chinese-built carrier had great impact. The ship’s name has not been announced yet, but there is widespread speculation that, like the first carrier, this one will be named after a coastal province, probably Shandong. The new ship appears to be a modified version of the first Chinese carrier Liaoning, herself a much-modified half-sister of the Russian Kuznetsov. The most significant change is a considerably enlarged hangar. The Liaoning, which began life as the Soviet carrier Varyag, had limited hangar space because the original Soviet design devoted considerable internal space to a battery of P-700 Granit (SS-N-19) cruise missiles. These missiles were omitted from Liaoning, but the space already had been arranged for them. Satellite imagery apparently showed the change in the new ship. Her island is different from that of her sister and includes a new Type 346A phased-array radar.
World Naval Developments —China's Second Aircraft Carrier
By Norman Friedman