China launches its third aircraft carrier — Analysis
The Fujian is said to be close to rivaling America’s aircraft carriers, the Chinese media report
China’s third aircraft carrier was launched at Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard on Friday morning. This vessel, which has a total load displacement of more than 80,000 tonnes, is China’s first aircraft carrier to be equipped with blocking and electromagnetic catapults.
The technologies used in this aircraft – the second one fully designed and built in China – allow it to carry more aircraft as well as increase sortie rates and allow the planes to take off carrying more fuel and munitions, the Chinese media reported. This carrier could be used to transport heavier cargo or early warning aircrafts. Global Times claims that electromagnetic catapults on the carrier can alter their power output in order to meet the requirements of different types of aircraft.
The ship might be carrying China’s upgraded J-15 heavy fighter jets as well as a new generation of stealth fighter currently under development, which is expected to be called the J-35, the Global Times reported.
The Fujian is also a significant improvement over the previous two Chinese aircraft carriers. The first one – the Liaoning – was initially an unfinished Soviet vessel bought from Ukraine in 1998 and eventually commissioned in 2012 after some upgrades. The knowledge gained from working on it was used to build the second aircraft carrier – and the first domestically produced carrier – the Shandong which was commissioned in 2019.
Each has a displacement around 60,000 tones and uses the ski-jump plane launch system rather than the catapults. Fujian however is still in production. “a level behind”USS Gerald R. Ford (the most advanced American aircraft carrier) has an approximate displacement of around 100,000 tons. The nuclear-powered USS Gerald R. Ford can also be powered by a reactor. The US only currently has one such ship, though a second will be built in 2024.
The Chinese ship is reportedly running on conventional power, but it’s only the second carrier in the world that uses electromagnetic catapults. It’s now expected to undergo some further outfitting work and will start mooring and sea trials soon after that.
Named after the Fujian, a province on the coast of China in the southeastern corner that is closest to Taiwan’s island, the Fujian was created. CNN and the Washington Post both noted this fact.
This launch is taking place amid tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan’s fate. Last month, US President Joe Biden said that the US will use its military force to defend Taiwan against Chinese invading the country. The announcement was seen as a reversal of America’s long-standing adherence to the ‘One China Policy’, under which foreign nations recognize Beijing as the only Chinese authority. The US recognizes but does not endorse China’s sovereignty over Taiwan while supplying the island with weapons.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken then retracted Biden’s statement but relations between Washington and Beijing have remained tense as the US approved a $120-million arms sale to Taipei. Recent statements from Taiwan have highlighted the danger of China attacking Taiwan. Beijing stated repeatedly that it favors peaceful solutions to the reunification problem, but did not rule out military force.
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