‘New-generation’ aircraft carrier being built
China is building its third aircraft carrier, according to a Xinhua News Agency report, the first confirmation of the project.
While the nation’s second — and first domestically designed — carrier is undergoing sea trials, a “new-generation carrier” is being constructed at a shipyard on schedule, according to an article published on Nov 25 on Xinhua’s WeChat account.
The article, marking the sixth anniversary of the first takeoff and landing by a Chinese fighter on the country’s first carrier, the CNS
did not elaborate. Chinese weapons enthusiasts and foreign observers have long said that China had begun to build its third carrier at China State Shipbuilding Corp’s Jiangnan Shipyard Group in Shanghai, speculating that it will be bigger and more powerful than the and the second carrier, which has yet to be named.
Publicity officers of the People’s Liberation Army Navy and China State Shipbuilding declined to comment.
An industry insider with knowledge of China’s carrier programs told China Daily on Nov 26, on condition of anonymity, that if everything goes well, construction of the new carrier would take at least five to six years, and if technical issues arise, it could take 10 years or longer.
“We have built 50,000-ton carriers, so it would not be difficult for us to produce an 80,000- or 90,000-ton one if we use techniques, materials and equipment that have been used in the first two carriers,” he said.
“However, if engineers decided to adopt a lot of new things on the vessel, it will become very challenging and take more time for construction.”
Observers have speculated that the new carrier will use an electromagnetic catapult to launch fixedwing aircraft. That would give the new vessel much greater combat capability than its two predecessors, which use a ramp to launch jets.
Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo, a senior researcher at the PLA Navy, previously said China has a reliable electromagnetic launch system and J-15 carrier-borne fighter jets had conducted “thousands of takeoffs” using the cutting-edge device at an unnamed land base.