skip to main content

Special Report: China gears up third carrier for more enduring operations despite flight deck flaw

Fujian , China's third aircraft carrier, seen here as it departs for its maiden sea trial on 1 May 2024. (VCG via Getty Images)

China has completed the maiden sea trials for its third aircraft carrier, which will be in service as CNS Fujian once it is commissioned. The vessel sailed off from the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai on 1 May and the trials were completed eight days later.

The trials focused on testing the “reliability and stability of the aircraft carrier's propulsion and electrical systems”, read a report from state-owned Xinhua News Agency, which was published to announce the trials.

Fujian was launched by Jiangnan Shipyard in June 2022. While it is slated to be the People's Liberation Army Navy's (PLAN's) third aircraft carrier overall, it is the country's first vessel to be configured for catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) aircraft operations.

Satellite images that have been analysed by Janes since 2021 support postulations that Fujian is equipped with electromagnetic catapults, given the presence of distinctive features along the track of the aircraft launching system.

These features include trunking grooves that can support a power bus along the track, which bear resemblance to the US Navy's Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System incorporated on the service's first Ford-class aircraft carrier.

Fujian has an overall length of about 320 m and its flight deck has a width of about 80 m at the widest point. It has been equipped with a total of three electromagnetic catapults and one arresting cables-equipped oblique runway as its recovery area.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...