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Pentagon cites Chinese advances in its carrier force

The Chinese carrier Shandong , shown berthed at Dalian shipyard, should now be considered operational, the Pentagon reported. (CNES 2020/Distribution Airbus DS/Janes)

China continues to make notable advancements in the development of its aircraft carrier force, according to the US Department of Defense.

“In December 2019, the PRC [People's Republic of China] commissioned its first domestically built aircraft carrier, Shandong, which launched in 2017 and completed multiple sea trials during 2018–2019,” the Pentagon pointed out in its 2022 Annual Report to Congress on Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China, released on 29 November.

Shandong was photographed at a base on Hainan Island in the Southern Theater Navy in late 2020, and should now be considered to be operational,” the Pentagon reported.

Shandong is a modified version of the Liaoning – of the former Soviet Union Kuznetsov-class – design and likewise uses a ski-jump take-off method for its aircraft, the Pentagon noted.

“The PRC continued work on its second domestically built aircraft carrier in 2021, which will be larger and fitted with an electromagnetic catapult launch system,” the Pentagon reported. “This design will enable it to support additional fighter aircraft, fixed-wing early warning aircraft, and more rapid flight operations and thus extend the reach and effectiveness of its carrier-based strike aircraft.”

The second domestically built carrier, Fujian, is projected to be operational by 2024, with commissioning scheduled for the same year, the Pentagon reported, “with additional carriers to follow”.

The Pentagon pointed out, “China continues to learn lessons from operating its first aircraft carrier, Liaoning.”

Shandong

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