China's new aircraft carrier can launch new type of planes

China's newest aircraft carrier, the Fujian, is set to launch "new-type aircraft" using an advanced electromagnetic catapult system. The carrier, which is yet to be commissioned, is expected to become a core part of China's goal to become a blue-water navy capable of operating far from its shores. Currently, China operates two aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and the Shandong, neither of which features the Fujian's catapult system. Instead, the older carriers rely on a ski-jump ramp, which limits the number of planes that can be kept on the flight deck. The CCTV report did not provide specifics on the new aircraft that could be launched from the Fujian, but they could include fighters with folding wings, fixed-wing drones, and airborne early warning and control planes. Successful mooring and propulsion tests have been carried out, including the engines, circuitry, and fuel pipes, indicating that the carrier may be close to a sea test. The Fujian is the first of the PLA Navy's Type 003 class, which is only the second carrier class, after the American Gerald R. Ford class, to use a catapult system powered by an electromagnetic motor to launch planes from the deck. The launch system is more efficient than the older steam-powered launch catapults, which are still used on some American ships and France's sole carrier, the Charles de Gaulle. The Fujian is the largest carrier in China's fleet, measuring around 320 metres long and 73 metres wide, almost the size of the US Nimitz-class carriers. Despite plans for the navy to gain the ability to operate globally, the CCTV report only referred to operations in domestic waters when saying that China would build more aircraft carriers. "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," it said.


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