China launches 3rd aircraft carrier, named after province across from Taiwan

China solemnly launched its third aircraft carrier on Friday and named it Fujian, the name of the Chinese province opposite the country of Taiwan. The name was clearly intended to warn Taiwanese against bullying.

The Fujian was launched from the Jiangnan shipyard in Shanghai, two weeks after rumors that it would be launched during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday on June 3 to boost the morale of the locked city.

The aircraft carrier was clearly not ready for the dragon boat launch, but the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) masked any discomfort it may have felt while turning Friday launch into a festive event with champagne, confetti and water cannon salutes.

The appointment ceremony was overseen by Xu Qilang, vice chairman of the all-powerful Central Military Commission, but curiously not by the chairman, Chinese dictator Xi Jinping.

Xi is rather accommodation the annual BRICS summit today. The annual meeting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa has been held virtually since the start of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

A senior Taiwanese official said Reuters the belligerent message sent by the from Fujian baptism ceremony was received in Taipei – and in Tokyo.

“In the future, they want to penetrate directly east of the first island chain, which includes the Japanese Ryukyu Islands and the Pacific waters off eastern Taiwan,” the Taiwanese official said.

“Any regional cooperation is perceived by Beijing as an intervention in the Taiwanese file or a challenge to China. The launch of the new carrier is a provocative statement,” the official said.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense’s official statement on the carrier’s launch said it was an event of “great significance” and that China’s third carrier would be duly integrated into Taiwan’s defense strategy. Taiwan.

Chinese state media vaunted this Fujian is a major step beyond the first two Chinese carriers, the modernized archaic Russian carrier liaoning and home construction Shandong. Unlike these ships, whose flight decks end in “ski jumping” ramps, the Fujian would have a vastly superior catapult system for launching aircraft, similar to the launching system of American aircraft carriers.

The Fujian is much smaller and less sophisticated than any of the 11 operational US carriers, displacing 80,000 tons compared to over 100,000 tons for the US Nimitz-to classify carrier and the next generation Gerald R. Ford to classify.

The Fujian will soon begin years of sea trials; PLAN has not yet announced a date when the carrier will become operational. The liaoning is above all a training ship, while the shandong held ostentatious fighter and helicopter launch exercises east of Okinawa in December to show off its combat capability.

The analysts of International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said that the from Fujian The launch nonetheless represents “a further shift in the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s long-range power projection capability beyond the potential offered by the first two carriers.”

A key point made by the IISS is that China has moved beyond the steam-powered catapult system used by older US carriers and gone straight to an electromagnetic system, similar to that used by the Gerald R. Ford to classify. This launcher makes the carrier capable of carrying a wider variety of fighters, bombers, and surveillance craft.

The smallest Fujian only has three catapults compared to the four on US carriers, and it is not nuclear-powered, so its range and strike capability will be more limited. The IISS predicted the next Chinese carrier will be be nuclear-powered, and much closer to US carriers in size. PLAN aspires to have six carriers in the water by the end of the next decade.

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Post expires at 4:19am on Tuesday June 28th, 2022