China’s third aircraft carrier, Fujian, completes an eight-day maiden sea trial

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In this May 8, 2024 photo released by Xinhua News Agency, China’s third aircraft carrier, the Fujian, conducts its first sea trial on May 1, 2024. | Photo credit: AP

China’s third aircraft carrier, Fujianhas successfully completed its eight-day maiden voyage. Fujian is an 80,000-ton supercarrier with electromagnetic catapults for launching aircraft, making China the second country after the US to deploy a supercarrier with this technology.

“During the sea trial, the aircraft carrier tested its propulsion, electrical systems and other equipment and achieved the expected results. In the next phase, PLANS Fujian will conduct follow-up tests according to established plans,” said China Military Online, the English-language news website of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The aircraft carrier departed Shanghai’s Jiangnan Shipyard for testing on May 1.

The developments will be closely watched by India and other countries in the region, which are also planning to build aircraft carriers as Beijing rapidly expands its maritime power and presence.

According to state media Global timesFujian is expected to deploy not only improved versions of the J-15 fighter jet, but also new aircraft, including the next-generation stealth fighter jet J-35, the early-warning fixed-wing aircraft KJ-600, and the JL- 10 advanced trainer beam.

Named after Fujian Province in eastern China and with fuselage number 18, the airline was launched in June 2022. Last month, China announced it is building its fourth aircraft carrier, likely a nuclear-powered supercarrier, which will be unveiled very soon. . China’s first aircraft carrier Liaoninga renovated Soviet aircraft carrier, was commissioned in 2012 and was the second aircraft carrier Shadong was launched in 2017. That’s a huge pace in carrier construction.

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In an interview last week, the outgoing commander of the Hawaii-based U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), Adm. John Aquilino, that in the three years since he took command, China acquired more than 400 aircraft, 20 major warships, and doubled its missile inventory.

Aircraft carriers of the Indian Navy

The Indian Navy currently operates two aircraft carriers: a refurbished Russian aircraft carrier INS VikramadityaCommissioned in 2013, and designed and built domestically INS Vikrantput into use in September 2022.

In the second half of last year, the Indian Navy put forward the case for a second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-II), an iteration of a Vikrant-style aircraft carrier approved by the Defense Procurement Board last September. It now awaits approval from the Defense Acquisition Council, which is expected to be considered after the election. The IAC-II is a priority as it will be ready for replacement in time INS Vikramadityawhich, at best, will last another fifteen years.

The IAC-II, which has a displacement of 45,000 tonnes, will see a number of changes and newer technologies to the Vikrant’s original design and will also be manufactured by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL). It will take about eight to 10 years to build a new airline, said Madhu S. Nair, chairman and managing director of CSL. The Hindu as previously reported, as long as the basic design, engines and propulsion remain intact. The Navy has shelved its previous plans for a 65,000-ton aircraft carrier given the whole new technology cycle and the resulting costs and timelines.

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