Tuesday, May 28, 2024

China launches sea trials for its next-generation aircraft carrier ‘Fujian’

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China launched sea trials for the Fujian, its third and most advanced aircraft carrier. ( Representational Image: Chinese Aircraft carrier; Photo: Wikimedia Commons)


China’s third aircraft carrier, the Fujian, the most advanced homemade warship, began its maiden sea trials on Wednesday as Beijing ramped up its naval power amid increasing tensions with the US in the disputed South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.


The ship left Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard on Wednesday morning for the sea trials, primarily to test the reliability and stability of the aircraft carrier’s propulsion and electrical systems, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.


Since its launch in June 2022, the Fujian has completed its mooring trials, outfitting work and equipment adjustments. It has met the technical requirements for sea trials.


Ahead of the trials, China has imposed maritime traffic controls around the mouth of the Yangtze River where the Jiangnan shipyard ship is located for military activities.


The traffic controls would last till May 9, the report said.


According to the previous official media reports, China plans to have five to six aircraft carriers by 2035 for strategic deployment in the disputed South China Sea, where Beijing seeks to assert its claims over most of the vast area, the Taiwan Strait which separates the Chinese mainland and Taiwan and the Indian Ocean where Beijing is increasing its power projection.


Currently, the Chinese navy is involved in a standoff with the US-backed Philippines naval ships in the South China Sea.


The Philippines is trying to assert its claim over the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea which is strongly resisted by China.


China claims most of the South China Sea. The Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims.


China names its aircraft carriers after its provinces. Fujian borders the Taiwan Strait. The other two carriers were named after Liaoning and the Shandong provinces.


China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was a refit of the Soviet-era ship commissioned in 2012 followed by the indigenously built 2nd aircraft carrier Shandong in 2019.


Chinese official media said Fujian is the “first fully domestically developed and constructed” aircraft carrier with an electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) similar to that of the American aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford.


Fujian has a full displacement of more than 80,000 tonnes, about 20,000 tonnes more than the other two aircraft carriers.


China’s other two aircraft carriers are equipped with ski-jump take-off ramps while the Fujian features a flat-top flight deck.


China operates its indigenously built J-15 aircraft for its carriers.


In a major rejig of its military doctrine, China in 2013 stepped up the development of the navy with a massive budget while cutting down the number of army troops as part of its power projection far from its shores.


The modernisation included building several aircraft carriers besides submarines, frigates and assault ships as part of its efforts to expand its global influence.

According to an estimate, China is building almost a naval ship a month. It is helping Pakistan to modernise its navy by providing its latest naval frigates and submarines.


(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: May 01 2024 | 9:11 AM IST

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