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China Sea Trials Next-Generation Type 003 Aircraft Carrier the Fujian

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China Sea Trials Next-Generation Aircraft Carrier the Fujian
The Type 003 is the first Chinese aircraft carrier to support catapult-assisted take-offs: Getty Images

According to China’s state media, the Chinese navy began sea trials on Wednesday for its third and most modern jump aircraft carrier. The testing are the final step before putting the warship into duty.

With a displacement of 80,000 metric tons, the Fujian dwarfs the PLAN’s two current carriers, the 66,000-ton Shandong and the 60,000-ton Liaoning. Only the United States Navy operates larger aircraft carriers than the Fujian.

The ship has a full-length, flat flight deck with a sophisticated catapult-launch mechanism for jets, allowing it to launch larger and heavier aircraft than the Shandong and Liaoning.

The final testing begins nearly two years after the wholly domestically designed and built aircraft carrier was originally unveiled in June 2022, and coincides with rising tensions in the South China Sea.

According to the Chinese navy, the sea trials aimed to test the “reliability and stability of the aircraft carrier’s propulsion and electric power systems.” The carrier was named one of “the most important military hardware” that Beijing is constructing.

Aircraft Carrier can Deploy Bombers

According to analysts, Fujian’s ability to deploy larger bombers carrying heavier munition loads from a greater distance will provide the carrier a longer combat range than its predecessors in the Chinese fleet, granting the country’s navy blue water capabilities, or the ability to operate on high seas.

The aircraft carrier is likely to enter service late next year, possibly in 2026. When the Fujian joins the PLAN fleet, it will become the “most visible symbol of China’s growing naval power,” according to Brian Hart, a China might Project fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

China currently possesses the world’s largest naval force (both in terms of ship count and tonnage), with over 340 vessels and counting.

According to the Global Times, PLAN political commissar Yuan Huazhi stated in March that an announcement for a fourth carrier for the Chinese navy could come shortly.

China Expanding in Navy

Chinese Navy has been conducting military drills around Taiwan: Getty Images

China Expanding in Navy

China is rapidly developing its military, constantly building new warships and submarines to project force far from its ports. Over the last decade, Beijing has increased naval production, launching more vessels than any other nation. The Chinese navy is now the world’s largest, with over 340 ships and submarines, surpassing even the great US Navy.

This military development has raised serious fears about future confrontations, particularly near Taiwan and the South China Sea. China claims the majority of those waters as its own, despite competing claims from neighboring. Its naval modernization intends to bolster its maritime claims and challenge American dominance in the Pacific.

Beijing has invested heavily in modern warships such as stealth-guided missile destroyers, amphibious assault ships, and nuclear-powered attack submarines. It is also developing aircraft carriers as part of its efforts to create a truly blue-water navy capable of long-range force projection. While the United States maintains its military superiority, China’s naval ambitions risk sparking an arms race and heightening tensions throughout Asia.

 

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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