New Delhi: China is a step away from launching ‘Type-003’, its largest and most advanced aircraft carrier so far. The launch would be followed by a series of outfitting and tests. It could take up to two years before the carrier is made operational.

An aircraft carrier is the biggest warship in the fleet of any navy and it can launch fighter jets from its deck while floating mid-sea. Satellite imagery accessed by US think-tank Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and put out in public domain showed the warship was currently positioned to launch at the Jiangnan shipyard.

China has two operational carriers. In December 2016, China announced its ‘arrival’ when its first carrier, the CNS Liaoning, carried out its first exercise. Three years later in December 2019, it commissioned one more carrier, the CNS Shandong.

A US Department of Defence report, ‘Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2021’, says, “People’s Republic of China continues to build a multi-carrier force. The PLA’s next generation of carriers will have greater endurance and a catapult system.”

The carrier set for launch will have greater endurance and a catapult launch system capable of launching various types of fighter jets and early warning planes to be launched from its deck.

India is set to commission its second carrier, the INS Vikrant, by August 2022, the first being the INS Vikramaditya. Besides India and China, Japan and South Korea are adding carriers to their fleets. The Japanese have the JS Izumo, a 248-metre-long warship, which can fly fighter jets. Its adding another one, the JS Kaga.

South Korea has a plan to launch by 2030 a large-deck amphibious-warfare ship that will have the ability to handle fighter aircraft from its deck.

‘Type 003’ Likely To Set Sail In Two Years

‘Type 003’ is China’s largest and most advanced carrier
Satellite imagery shows the warship positioned to launch at the Jiangnan shipyard
China has two operational carriers — CNS Liaoning and CNS Shandong
India set to commission its second carrier by Aug 2022