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Tags: China | china | aircraft carrier | high tech

Chinese High-Tech Aircraft Carrier Appears Ready to Launch

china aircraft carrier returns to port
Tugs guide China's first domestically manufactured aircraft carrier, known as "Type 001A", as it returns to port in Dalian in China's northeastern Liaoning province. (AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 09 November 2021 10:50 AM

A new Chinese aircraft carrier with technology at nearly the same level as its American counterparts could be launched as soon as this February, according to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

CSIS said its analysis, based on satellite imagery showing the carrier (known only as the Type 003) nearing completion, is that only a few additional items remain to be installed before the vessel can be launched in some "three to six months."

This will be China's third aircraft carrier, but the first one at such an advanced level that will allow Beijing to launch a wider variety of planes from the Type 003 faster and with more ammunition.

CSIS China Project senior fellow Matthew Funaiole told CNN that the Type 003 "is a pretty significant step forward," stressing that Beijing is "really committed to building out a carrier program, and they continue to push the boundaries of what they're able to do," as well as now boasting the largest naval force in the world.

The carrier's value, however, isn't solely in terms of combat capability, Funaiole emphasized, but also its worth in terms of diplomatic prestige and "power projection."

"China wants to have a world-class navy. It wants to signal to the world that it has a world-class navy, [and] try to convince nations around the region or around the world that it is on par with the United States," Funaiole said, adding that the symbol of American naval power internationally is its fleet of aircraft carriers, of which the U.S. has 11.

A U.S. Congressional Research report last month said the Type 003 was expected to have a displacement of some 100,000 tons, comparable to a U.S. carrier of the same class, according to CNN.

Despite the advanced launch system, Funaiole said there are still indications that the Chinese carrier has not caught up technologically to its U.S. counterparts, which have more catapults, a larger airway, and more elevators to permit quicker deployment of aircraft.

All U.S. aircraft carriers are also nuclear-powered, while the Type 003 is believed to have only conventional steam propulsion.

Funaiole also stressed another major advantage for the U.S., which is its vast experience in crewing the ships and integrating them with the rest of the navy.

"We've been at carrier operations for generations on generations and we have a number of different operators and engineers and technicians that have worked on them, that can pass that knowledge on to those who come after them," Funaiole said.

China has only operated aircraft carriers since 2012 and that experience gap isn't "something that you can just jump forward," he said.

In addition, even when the Type 003 is launched, it will need to be tested and fully outfitted before it can officially enter service, which is expected to take another two years, CNN reported.

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A new Chinese aircraft carrier with technology at nearly the same level as its American counterparts could be launched as soon as this February, according to the Washington-based Center for Strategic...
china, aircraft carrier, high tech
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2021-50-09
Tuesday, 09 November 2021 10:50 AM
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