Graphic shows details of China’s Type 003 aircraft carrier.
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MILITARY

China nears launch of first modern aircraft carrier

By Jordi Bou

November 10, 2021 - China’s third and most modern aircraft carrier could be launched as soon as February next year, according to an analysis of satellite imagery by a Washington-based think tank.

The Jiangnan Shipyard near Shanghai has made “steady progress” this year on the vessel, known for now as Type 003, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has said.

But unlike its sister ships, the Liaoning and the Shandong, experts said the Type 003 will feature more advanced aircraft launching technology, called CATOBAR, which will enable the carrier to launch fixed-wing aircraft with heavier payloads and more fuel, as well as larger aircraft.

Like the Ford Class, the Type-003 is believed to use an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) instead of a steam catapult. This should promise a faster launch rate.

However, despite the advanced launch system, there are still signs the Chinese carrier lags behind its U.S. counterparts, which have more catapults, a larger airway and more elevators to allow for quicker deployment of aircraft.

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

Sources
PUBLISHED: 10/11/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: CSIS, U.S. Navy
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