China said to be planning world’s first 180,000-ton double-hull aircraft carrier

A double hull is a ship hull design and construction method where the bottom and sides of the ship have two complete layers of watertight hull surface: one outer layer forming the normal hull of the ship, and a second inner hull which is some distance inboard, typically by a few feet, which forms a redundant barrier to seawater in case the outer hull is damaged and leaks.

Double hulls or double bottoms (two hull layers only in the bottom of the ship but not the sides) have been required in all passenger ships for decades as part of the Safety Of Life At Sea or SOLAS Convention.

Chinese aircraft carrierQianzhan‘s “imagined” depiction of China’s double-hull aircraft carrier said to be “in development.”

ChanKaiYee2 writes for ChinaDailyMail (via Oct. 7, 213, that according to the Chinese-language news site, “China has to put an end to its old practice of following others countries’ footsteps” by developing the world’s first 180,000-ton double hull aircraft carrier.


Note: ( Forward Looking) is headquartered in the city of Shenzhen in China’s southeastern Guangdong province, with offices in Beijing and Hong Kong.


Sources say a 180,000-ton double hull aircraft carrier has exceptional advantages over a monohull aircraft carrier. A double-hull carrier:

  • may have two identical runways for simultaneous taking off and landing.
  • will avoid the risk of crash by eschewing he diagonal runway on existing Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.
  • will have a huge capacity, capable of carrying 125 J-20 fighter jets — enough to destroy any existing aircraft carrier in the world.

Qianzhan boasts that if successful, the behemoth aircraft carrier will be “a movable Chinese territory with maritime hegemony.”

According to Wikipedia, a total of 20 fleet carriers are in active service by ten navies, the largest (or heaviest) of which are the United States’ Nimitz class: ten 101,000-ton, 1,092 feet long nuclear-powered supercarriers, powered by two nuclear reactors and four steam turbines.

If the Qianzhan report can be believed, China’s planned double-hull aircraft carrier will weigh 79,000 tons more than the Nimitz.

Snopes says that “We could find no documentation that China is currently engaged in building a craft like the one shown here, or has any plans to do so. The origin of these images is unknown to us and may have no connection to the Chinese military.”

8 responses to “China said to be planning world’s first 180,000-ton double-hull aircraft carrier

  1. First of all, the picture is not of a “double hull” ship, it is a “twin hull” ship.
    As explained in the text, which the artist apparently did not read, A double hulled ship has two hulls, one INSIDE the other. The picture shows a twin hull which has two separate hulls linked together by the superstructure. This is also known as a “catamaran hull.” This design would have greater stability in rough seas and, of course, a torpedo, missile or mine striking one hull would be unlikely to damage the other. But a superstructure hit would be just as damaging and the ship would have a larger radar cross section than a single hulled ship of the same tonnage. the design show is basically two aircraft carriers stuck together by a flight deck. Frankly, I see no reasonable mission for the PLAN that would benefit from such a ship design other than the “gee whiz” factor, which might impress the ignorant.


  2. A. James Gregor, Ph.D. & Professor

    It is unclear where these reports of a prospective Chinese “super carrier” (twin hulled, 180,000 ton vessel with a shipboard complement of 120 Sukoi fighters) originated–but at this stage it is more evidence of the PRC’s aspirations than anything else. Beijjng has announced its intention to challenge the United States in the Pacific. Prior to the Second World War, both National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy announced plans to build modern aircraft carriers to challenge British control of the North Sea and the Mediterranean. As it happened other priorities took precedence long before the vessels approached fabrication. The question is can the PLAN actually undertake the enormous cost of such a combat vessel? Do they have the highly specialized equipment to fabricate such a technologically demanding vessel? Clearly, the Chinese have an enormous store of assets, both human and material. They have surprised the West by entering space with sophisticated entries. But they are still, by and large, flying Soviet/Russan built aircraft (only recently introducing aircraft of their own design and manufacture). It took the PLAN about 14 years to refurbish and refit a relatively modern aircraft carrier purchased from the former Soviet Union. It is not clear what we can make of the proposed “super carrier.” What it does reaffirm is that The PRC intends to challenge the West in every conceivable fashion–at a time when the West (primarily the United States) appears uncertain.


  3. My opinion is that the only rivals to the Iranian internet fanbois for sheer chutzpah in their delusions of grandeur on a galactic scale are the Chinese internet fanbois. I see zero reason to believe this is anything more than the wet dream of some China zealots. My prediction is the Chinese will build one carrier within the next 5-10 years, with a second one following within a couple years after that. These carriers will basically be like somewhat larger version of the Liaoning, along the lines of the carrier the Russians planned to build but never did. Several years after that, they will become operational.


  4. Thank you, Dick, James, and Jim, for your expert analyses!

    I agree. This 180,000 ton double-hull aircraft carrier appears to be chest-puffing blustering on the part of certain Chinese bloggers, if not the Communist Party regime itself.

    However, although the probability of the double-hull thingie being a real plan is slim, I did get an email from John Molloy reminding us that 700 years ago Imperial China had built monumental wooden ships that greatly exceeded in size any ships that then existed in the known world. 😉


  5. This is an absolute nonsense. DERA bought all the twin hull designs they could from the Sovs after the collapse of the Iron Curtain. There were a few twin hull carrier designs in there that I saw in the mid 90’s. Both the Russians and Poms regarded twin hull CV/CVN’s as unworkable – and Australia which at that time built 70% of the worlds twin hull grey/green/blue water vessels also came to the conclusion that dimensions would suffer beyond a certain length (there’s some visible floating examples of what we think the max workable length is)

    I saw some pretty odd looking designs – it does appear that the UK liked the twin island CV design – although it never appealed to me personally. I know quite a few DERA maritime engineers who hated the design. I think they all exited once DERA converted into Qinetic

    i’d love to see how they’d sort out the bunkerage and dynamic balancing on a twin thats taken a few mk48ADCAPS to one side…


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