The PLA’s latest warship with its advanced catapult system makes China’s naval force a fierce opponent to Beijing’s enemies.
China’s latest aircraft carrier, Fujian, is about to change the sea game, as the cutting-edge warship will soon be equipped with a new aircraft launching system, which is anticipated to push the Chinese maritime power ahead of its rivals.
The Asian giant first commissioned its locally-produced carrier, Shandong, in 2019. But Fuijan’s advanced catapult mechanism allows the onboard aircraft to take off more frequently, carry more fuel, and hold more ammo, compared to the ski-jump ramp – an upward-curved ramp that allows jets to take off from a runway shorter than their required takeoff space.
The PLA has significantly increased its capabilities since the turn of the century, launching scores of advanced vessels, including destroyers, frigates, submarines, aircraft carriers, amphibious ships, replenishment ships, and others at an astounding speed.
China’s state-owned broadcaster CCTV reported that Fujian, which was launched on June 17, 2022, has successfully passed its mooring trials, which cover the engines, electric wiring, and fuel pipes, suggesting that the carrier is ready for the practical sea test.
“As the Fujian completes further sea trials and finally becomes combat-capable, the People’s Navy will truly step into the era of three aircraft carriers. But due to China’s vast oceans, the demand cannot be met with only three aircraft carriers – the Liaoning, Shandong, and Fujian. Therefore, new aircraft carriers are bound to be built in the future,” the news agency said.
The commissioning of the carrier – which is the first of the PLA Navy’s Type 003 class – places China next to the US as being the only two countries in the world to use the advanced electromagnetic motor-powered catapult for aircraft takeoff.
The main security threats that China faces come from the Taiwan Straits, the South China Sea, and the East China Sea, especially in light of increasing US provocations that are seeing Washington sending warships and warplanes for reconnaissance operations, exercises, and transit, as well as its arming of Taiwan and regional countries in a bid to contain China.