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 China’s aircraft carrier fleet infographic
Graphic shows China’s fleet of three aircraft carriers.


China’s biggest aircraft carrier starts sea trials

By Jordi Bou

May 1, 2024 - China’s largest and most advanced aircraft carrier has begun sea trials, enabling Beijing to enhance its naval power in the Indo-Pacific region.

The start of tests by China’s largest and most advanced warship comes nearly two years after it was first unveiled, in June 2022.

The Fujian, entirely designed and built domestically, is larger and more advanced than the Shandong, commissioned in late 2019, and the Liaoning, which China bought second-hand from Ukraine in 1998.

The 316-metre carrier is fitted with three electromagnetic catapults, which is similar to the advanced system used by the latest U.S. carrier, the 337-metre long USS Gerald R. Ford.

The electromagnetic system enables the launch of heavier and larger fixed-wing aircraft.

But unlike America’s fleet of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the Fujian is conventionally powered, which could limit its range and duration of its deployments.

The development of the Fujian is part of a build-up central to President Xi Jinping's bid to make China the preeminent military power in the region.

PUBLISHED: 01/05/2024; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Newscom