The commissioning of the Shandong has placed China in a small club of nations with multiple aircraft carriers. The nation is also building a third.
China has one other aircraft carrier, a former incomplete Soviet vessel bought from Ukraine, known as the Liaoning.
The Shandong is a first-generation Chinese aircraft carrier. It is the country’s second aircraft carrier after the completion of Liaoning, and the first built domestically.
The aircraft carrier’s design is largely based on China’s first carrier Liaoning, which was itself built from the partially complete hull of the Soviet Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier Varyag.
It retains the ski jump takeoff, which limits its air wing to helicopters and Shenyang J-15 jets and the ship is powered by conventional oil-fired boilers driving eight steam turbines derived from the Soviet designed examples installed on Liaoning.
It measures about 315 metres long with a displacement of about 55,000 tonnes.
Local media report that the vessel features modifications and upgrades compared to Liaoning. It has increased storage for ammunition and fuel, with a larger aircraft capacity of 44 aircraft, eight more than Liaoning. It also has a broader flight deck, while the island superstructure is also shorter to give more space for aircraft movements.