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China Introduces its Third, Highly Developed Aircraft Transporter Known as 'Fujian'

On Friday, China unveiled its third and highly advanced aircraft hauler from Shanghai’s Jiangnan Shipyard, as reported by a state-run news bureau.

According to Xinhua, this ship is named “Fujian” and it is China’s first locally designed and constructed launcher aircraft carrier.

As per the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington-based think tank, this catapult-aided launch system is a greater upgraded version of the less developed ski jump-style structure utilised on the Liaoning and the Shandong, that are its two precursors.

The new launching system, which is the same as the ones that are used by the US aircraft carriers, will enable China to launch a larger array of aircraft from the Fujian quicker and with more ammunition.

As reported by Xinhua, adding to the launch system, the Fujian is armed with blocking mechanisms, and a maximum transposition of more than 80,000 tonnes. The ship will perform anchoring tests and routing tests after it is launched.

The senior member at the CSIS's China Project, Matthew Funaiole, stated that this new ship would be the “first foray into a modern aircraft carrier” of the Chinese military. He added that this is simply a substantial step ahead as they are truly dedicated to constructing a carrier system, and they are constantly pushing their boundaries of what they are capable of doing.

The aircraft haulers in China are named after its coastal regions, with Liaoning based in the northeast and Shandong in the east. The latest one, Fujian, is the closest province to Taiwan in the southeast and is divided by a channel that is lesser than 80 miles (128 kilometres) broad at its slimmest point.

Even though China’s Communist Party has never governed the self-ruling democracy of Taiwan, it claims sovereignty over it. Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, has repetitively stated that “reunification” between China and Taiwan is unavoidable and denied ruling out the use of force.

At present China employs the biggest naval force globally and aircraft transporters are the main vessels of any major power's convoy. The enormous ships are primarily mobile airbases, permitting a swift, long-term use of airplanes and artillery in a fighting theatre.

The Liaoning, China’s first airplane carrier, was an unfinished Soviet-era vessel that was purchased by Beijing from Ukraine in 1998, later updated, and ultimately contracted in 2012.

The technological knowledge gained from that vessel was used by the Chinese military to build its first domestically made carrier, the Shandong, which was put in service in December 2019.

Nevertheless, though China’s two early aircraft transporters strengthened its naval power, their potential was yet far behind the US, which has a total of 11 vessels in use.

Additionally, both the Liaoning and the Shandong were built on obsolete Soviet technology. These two aircraft transporters employed the ski-jump launching system, in which plans would merely take off from a small ramp, whereas the US carrier use a more innovative catapult technique to launch their aircraft.

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