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China’s third aircraft carrier is ready- expected to be launched in the coming days.

A satellite image of the Type 003 aircraft carrier from May 31, 2022. Image Credit: Maxar Technologies

The Chinese third aircraft carrier, which is the second home-built aircraft carrier, is expected to be launched as early as this month according to Chinese state media and satellite images thanks to Maxar technologies. The carrier was supposed to launched last week 3rd June, according to a Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, but due to technical issues it was delayed.

The aircraft carrier which is expected to be named as Jiangsu, will be instrumental in strengthening Chinese presence in the South China Sea, and to mount pressure on Taiwan. Many experts believe that this aircraft carrier will be used to attack Taiwan from the east by deploying it to the Pacific Ocean. The Type 003 aircraft carrier still needs to undergoe sea trials before eventually it will be put to service with the Chinese navy, but is a sign of Chinese military growing ‘might’.

Although it will be years before the Type 003 enters military service and achieves initial operating capability, its launch will be a seminal moment in China’s ongoing modernisation efforts and a symbol of the country’s growing military might.

Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

This aircraft carrier will be much more advanced than the Type 002 and Type 001 as expected. According to an annual report released by the US Defence Department in November it will support more fighter jets due to its new electromagnetic catapult system known as the Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) launch system. The Liaoning and the Shandong aircraft carriers use Ski jumps rather than the electromagnetic catapult. The Ski jump is easier to make but requires more space so less space for fighter jets. US newest nuclear aircraft carriers are also fitted with the electromagnetic catapult systems, but it is known to be prone to breakdowns.

It is expected to be commissioned in 2024 and will be the world’s first carrier with an integrated propulsion system (IPS) — a system that uses turbines and generators to power its propeller. This allows enough power for the CATOBAR launch system.

In addition to being the largest of its three carriers, the new Type 003 class is fitted with a catapult launch system that will “enable it to support additional fighter aircraft, fixed-wing early-warning aircraft, and more rapid flight operations and thus extend the reach and effectiveness of its carrier-based strike aircraft.

US defence department.

More details to follow.

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