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Lianhe Zaobao: China’s 003 Aircraft Carrier Expects Earliest Launch Date to Be in February

Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao recently reported that the U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released its satellite image analysis, showing that the Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard is completing the installation of the main external and internal components of China’s 003 aircraft carrier. Before the carrier sails into the Yangtze River, it only needs to install some additional items such as radar and weapon systems. CSIS estimated that the 003 aircraft carrier will be launched in about three to six months. Once ready, this will become China’s third aircraft carrier and the second domestically-made carrier. Unlike the first two, experts expressed the belief that the 003 model will use more advanced aircraft ejection technology, similar to the ejection system used by American aircraft carriers. According to Matthew Funaiole, senior researcher of CSIS China Project, the 003 carrier will be the Chinese military’s “first foray into a modern aircraft carrier.” This is a major step forward for China. However, all U.S. aircraft carriers are nuclear-powered. The Chinese 003 carrier is believed to use conventional steam-powered propulsion, which will limit its range.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, November 10, 2021