The new supercarrier. Photo: screen grab / CCTV / Defense Blog
China launched its first supercarrier in a short and festive June 17 ceremony at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, marking a significant milestone in the growth of its naval power. The carrier was supposed to be launched on April 23 but delays in deliveries of critical components and workforce COVID-19 quarantines hindered progress.
The new conventionally-powered carrier, named the Type-003 Fujian, is estimated to displace 85,000 to 100,000 tons, and carry around 50 to 70 aircraft. This makes it the first non-US carrier to rival the US Navy’s Ford and Nimitz-class in terms of size and displacement.
China’s first supercarrier significantly expands and steps up the Chinese navy’s capabilities from regional force projection to partial global force projection.
The Type-003 Fujian is China’s first domestically-developed and constructed carrier featuring an electromagnetic launch system (EMALS), a huge step up from its previous carriers.
China’s previous carriers employed a ski ramp, which limits the types of aircraft that they could launch as well as fuel and armaments.