PLAN Catapult Development Thread, News, etc.


Jeff Head

General
Staff member
Super Moderator
I believe that within days of that satellite picture being shown, that PLA Navy Rear Admiral Ma Weiming, ( who has been cited as an expert in “naval propulsion and electrical engineering by Hong Kong Commercial Daily), confirmed the catapult project.

Of course we have known for some time here on SD (from other pictures) that the Chinese are working on both steam and EMAL catapults.
 

kroko

Senior Member
Does anyone here knows how much time does it take to develop a catapult? the fact that they still havent decided which type of catapult to develop, and still testing the 2 types, makes me wonder if it will be several years (if the program doesnt hit snags, more if it does) before they have a catapult which can be put to service.
IMO, after choosing the type of catapult, they will have to develop it further until they have a sucessful design. Only then they can adapt 002 design to the catapult, and after that, start building 002.
 

Lethe

Senior Member
At some point one will undoubtedly be prioritised over another, but I expect they would continue to develop both types until one is successfully in service.
 

Intrepid

Captain
It looks for me that for a better knowledge the Chinese would like to know the whole story and not only the final result. So they develop both, the obsolet steam cat and the brand new EMALS.
 

SamuraiBlue

Captain
Here is an recent article that was posted at Janes;

China flight testing modified J-15 for CATOBAR operations


China has been flight testing a new variant of its J-15 navalised fighter modified for catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) operations, according to images posted on Chinese online forums.

Released on 15 September, the images show a Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-15 in flight featuring what appear to be modifications to its front undercarriage that would enable the aircraft to conduct catapult-assisted take-offs: yet another indication that China may be planning to develop a CATOBAR aircraft carrier.

Expectations that China's third carrier, which is commonly referred to as the Type 002, will be equipped with catapults were reinforced in early August when images emerged on Chinese online forums showing the country's land-based aircraft carrier mock-up in Wuhan, Hubei Province, undergoing modifications.

Most significantly, the ski-jump section had been removed from the mock-up..... to read more
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It's kind of interesting that they are extending the runway and the tracks looks as if they are still doing research of concept and not testing a proto-type that can be readily installed.
 

taxiya

Colonel
Registered Member
It looks for me that for a better knowledge the Chinese would like to know the whole story and not only the final result. So they develop both, the obsolet steam cat and the brand new EMALS.
I agree with that.

For one thing, China want to know how much better their EMALS is than their steam catapult even if they have decided on EMALS. Essentially they need a reference point. The better includes both launching capacity and maintenance costs. The reason that China doing this is because China never had any of them in service unlike USN.

There is no reason to waste the effort they have put into steam catapult without getting a firm final performance figure of real-life launching. Most of the time and cost have been spent, nothing is to be wasted in continuing the last mile.
 
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taxiya

Colonel
Registered Member
Here is an recent article that was posted at Janes;



It's kind of interesting that they are extending the runway and the tracks looks as if they are still doing research of concept and not testing a proto-type that can be readily installed.
The Janes article regarding "runway" extension is strange, the runway was never finished up till today, how could there be an extension? Another good counter point is Lakehust test site, how long is that runway portion beyond the launch rail? Very long.

No, I don't think they are doing some concept research, but only finishing unfinished work for the upcoming proto-type test.
 

Hendrik_2000

Brigadier
Here is an recent article that was posted at Janes;



It's kind of interesting that they are extending the runway and the tracks looks as if they are still doing research of concept and not testing a proto-type that can be readily installed.
I don't think so Huangdicun is pilot training facilities and not R&D facility which is located closed to Shanghai if I am not wrong. There used to be photo of the facility somewhere buried in the old Carrier thread
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Here the report of successful completion of the program with Admiral Wu Shengli attendance
https://www.sinodefenceforum.com/plan-breaking-news-pictures-and-videos.t7079/page-61

The program chief designer Ma Weiming even claim their system is rival to US system
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Add to that the unveiling of J 15 with catobar hook show that they are ready to test the catobar launch system
 
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Bltizo

Lieutenant General
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Does anyone here knows how much time does it take to develop a catapult? the fact that they still havent decided which type of catapult to develop, and still testing the 2 types, makes me wonder if it will be several years (if the program doesnt hit snags, more if it does) before they have a catapult which can be put to service.
IMO, after choosing the type of catapult, they will have to develop it further until they have a sucessful design. Only then they can adapt 002 design to the catapult, and after that, start building 002.
The rumour about the catapult issue is that until last year, the 002 was virtually confirmed to go with steam catapult, and political horse trading was supposedly an issue, and Rear Admiral Ma's EM catapult project did not receive state funding, but he and his team continued to develop it anyway.
However with the recent anti-corruption drive in the military, one of the people who supposedly blocked the EM catapult (supposedly Guo Boxiong) was removed from his position, and that caused a rethink about the catapult for 002... and that is apparently where the entire "catapult competition" comes in.

To me, this says a couple of things, about the catapult project itself as well as the 002 construction:

-catapult: I suspect both of the catapults being constructed there are not prototypes, but likely pre-production or at least some sort of "full standard" or "representative" system. We've heard many times form Rear Admiral Ma saying that he has substantial confidence in his EM cat and we've had many rumours over the years, and that the steam catapult project has essentially been "waiting" for 002.

-002 construction: conventionally, one would think that if they are still choosing the catapult for 002, that they would try to delay construction of the entire carrier until they've chosen a catapult. However, I have a counter-proposal for that, which is that they could have designed 002 in such a way where the space needed for relevant subsystems for either a steam catapult or EM catapult could be designed into the ship's relevant compartments in the most optimal way so that they can construct the ship up to a certain point before integrating the relevant subsystems in. I expect the keel of the ship and the lower decks of the ship will be more or less the same between 002 whether it uses steam or EM cat. The question is whether the ship's propulsion will differ between whether it uses steam or EM cat -- obviously steam cats will use steam derived from the ship's boilers, but an EM cat will have to use generators. Whether those generators are part of an IEPS (complex, and a different propulsion mode compared to using steam cats) or whether they will have dedicated generators for the EM cats (simpler, and can potentially be used alongside the same steam propulsion as in steam cats) is another issue.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
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Here is an recent article that was posted at Janes;



It's kind of interesting that they are extending the runway and the tracks looks as if they are still doing research of concept and not testing a proto-type that can be readily installed.
At this stage they should be well past the prototype stage for both types of catapults.

Also, I'm not sure what you mean by thinking that a prototype can be "readily installed" -- you do realize that the entire part of this airfield is a new construction/extension from the existing NATF, right?
If anything, the fact that they're extending this at a dedicated naval air training facility suggests to me that these two systems are meant for a high pace of use rather than tinkering with R&D.

2013:
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2015:
2015.png
2016:
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As for tracks extending beyond the catapult itself, I think that's a pretty common sight aboard land based catapults, such as the USN's premier test site at Lakehurst, where they've tested catapults like EMALS. I believe the tracks extending the catapults is a way of controlling initial test sleds to be launched from the catapult during initial tests of newly installed catapults, before later using aircraft as the standard launches.

lakehurst.png
 

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