by Agence France-Presse June 17, 2022 in Navy News
China on Friday launched its biggest and most modern aircraft carrier, marking a major military advance for the Asian superpower.
The new carrier, named Fujian, is the “first catapult aircraft carrier wholly designed and built by China”, said state broadcaster CCTV.
Columns of sailors in white uniforms applauded under colorful clouds of smoke as jets of water arced over the gigantic vessel to mark its launch.
Colorful streamers hung from its flight deck, on which large banners read: “Strive for the comprehensive construction of a… first-class navy.”
The launch of the carrier marks a major milestone for the Chinese military.
It has significantly more advanced technology than China’s two other carriers, including electromagnetic catapults to launch aircraft off its deck, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The other carriers — the Liaoning and the Shandong — use a ski-jump-style ramp for takeoffs.
And with a displacement of more than 80,000 tones, according to Xinhua, it is comparable in size to the supercarriers of the United States Navy, analysts said.
分析人士称，据新华社报道，排水量超过 80,000 吨，其大小与美国海军的超级航母相当。
Collin Koh, a research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said it could be a “game changer” for the Chinese navy.
“The conventional flight deck with (electromagnetic catapults) will at least in theory allow the carrier to launch aircraft faster and with heavier payloads — which constitute key deciding factors during battle,” he told AFP.
“At a strategic level, the new carrier heralds the coming of age of a blue-water PLA Navy.”
Blue-water navies are able to operate around the world at vast ranges.
It will take years before the Fujian becomes operational, however. Authorities have not said when it will enter service.
The Liaoning was commissioned in 2012, and the Shandong entered service in 2019.
The Shandong was the first aircraft carrier entirely built by China.
The United States has by far the most aircraft carriers in service at 11 ships, followed by China and Britain at two each, according to defence magazine Janes.
Unlike the US Navy’s nuclear-powered supercarriers, the Fujian uses conventional propulsion. Nuclear vessels have significant advantages over conventional ships as they can operate for long periods without the need to dock and refuel.