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 mil.huanqiu.com) Oct. 7, 2013, that according to the Chinese-language news site Qianzhan.com, “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.

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

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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 existingNimitz-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.”

~Dr. C

Dr. C is the Editor of Consortium of Defense Analysts.