China’s Largest Aircraft Carrier, Fujian, Completes First Sea Trials

Aircraft Carrier
Screengrab from YouTube video posted by CCTV Video News Agency

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) achieved an important milestone in its strategic force enhancement strategy when its third aircraft carrier, the Fujian, completed its first sea trials.

The vessel’s displacement of over 80,000 metric tons exceeds that of the PLAN’s current carriers, Shandong and Liaoning.

The 8-day sea trials, which ended when the Fujian returned to Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard, tested the carrier’s propulsion, electrical systems, and overall equipment.

According to Xinhua, the trials produced the desired results, demonstrating progress toward the carrier’s readiness for future operational deployment.

The Fujian, launched in 2022, has completed mooring trials, outfitting work, and equipment changes in preparation for sea trials.

The carrier features an updated electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) similar to those used by the United States Navy’s advanced supercarriers, which improves its operational capabilities.

Unlike its predecessors, the Fujian has three electromagnetic catapults, allowing more efficient airplane launches and accommodating bigger aircraft.


Video Credits: CCTV Video News Agency/YouTube

The carrier’s architecture allows for the deployment of modern aircraft, including the fixed-wing early warning aircraft KJ-600 and the next-generation stealth fighter jet J-35.

The successful sea experiment demonstrates China’s commitment to improving its naval capabilities and ensuring maritime and aerial security.

Analysts point to the carrier’s increased combat potential and describe it as the world’s most modern conventionally powered aircraft carrier.

Furthermore, with Fujian’s entry into operational duty, the PLA Navy will have three operating aircraft carriers, ensuring continuous deployment capabilities while others undergo training or maintenance.

China’s military ambitions go beyond the Fujian, with plans for a fourth aircraft carrier shortly to be revealed.

There is speculation that China’s next (fourth) aircraft carrier will be nuclear-powered, indicating that the country will continue to invest in improving its naval capabilities.

In response to media inquiries, Yuan Huazhi, the PLA Navy’s political commissar, stated that China’s aircraft carrier program is not intended to compete with other nations but to protect national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and rights.

Reference: Hindu, New Indian Express

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