China has commenced work on its third aircraft carrier, Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday without giving any details.
In an article published on its WeChat account, Xinhua identified a “new-generation carrier” as being constructed at the China State Shipbuilding Corp’s shipyard as per schedule.
The article, which was intended to mark the sixth anniversary of the first takeoff and landing by a Chinese fighter on the country’s first carrier CNS Liaoning, does not elaborate on the program of the “new-generation carrier”, which is believed to be the country’s third carrier.
With the first carrier, the CNS Liaoning being used for testing, the second carrier designated as ‘Type 001A’ is undergoing sea-trails; the third has entered the construction phase, as per the Chinese Navy’s plan to fast-track aircraft carrier development.
Teaser images of the new carrier have been released by the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) in the past without giving any description. In one image at the CSIC board meeting earlier this year, the background screen shows three carriers of what appears to be an artists’ illustration.
The proposed new aircraft carrier is said to carry the ‘Type 002’ designation and is expected to have a catapult take-off and arrester-cable landing assist system unlike the ski-jump take off system of the 001A.
The teaser image has a carrier in the fore-ground with a flat deck indicating the presence of a catapult launch system. Such a system is power hungry and will most probably need a nuclear-powered propulsion to supply the required power.
China is working on carrier based aircraft as well as aerial refueling system to improve the reach and lethality of its Navy. Recent report say it aims to surpass the US Navy in capability.