What are the 4 major advances of the new Chinese aircraft carrier CV-18 Fujian?

The new Chinese aircraft carrier, dubbed CV-18 Fujian, was launched on Friday, June 17, 2022 in Shanghai, marking a new stage in the industrial and operational evolution of the People's Liberation Army Navy.

Beyond an undeniable industrial success for Beijing, which has launched, in less than 12 years, three aircraft carriers of increasing technology and tonnage, the Fujian constitutes a key asset for the Chinese Navy in its showdown in the making. with the US Navy and its allies, offering several major advances in the capabilities available to the Chinese military and industrialists in the years to come, ranging from integrated electric propulsion paving the way for nuclear propulsion, to an extended on-board air group comparable to the one available to the super aircraft carriers of the US Navy.

The CV-18 Fujian is the largest non-US military ship in history

With Fujian, the Chinese Navy now stands out as the only competitor of the US Navy on the oceans. Indeed, the new Chinese aircraft carrier, with a length of 320 meters and an estimated tonnage of between 80.000 and 100.000 tons, is none other than the most imposing non-American warship ever built, with measurements comparable to those of the carriers. -aircraft of the Kitty Hawk class, the last conventionally powered aircraft carriers of the US Navy, the last unit of which was withdrawn from service in 2005 (2007 for the USS Kennedy subclass).

The previous Chinese aircraft carriers, the CV16 Liaoning and the CV17 Shandong, launched in 2011 and 2017 respectively, with a tonnage of 65.000 tons, were derived from the Russian aircraft carrier Kuznetsov, of which they share the STOBAR architecture with a springboard and strands of stop, as did the British HMS Queen Elizabeth II and HMS Prince of Wales.

The CV18 Fujian outclasses by more than 30% for the tonnage these buildings which were to date the most imposing military ships except those implemented by the US Navy. In addition, it displays a tonnage twice as large as that of the only other non-American aircraft carrier equipped with catapults on the planet, the French Charles de Gaulle and its 42.000 tons.

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With a displacement of 60.000 tons, the CV-16 Liaoning is 30% smaller than the new CV-18 Fujian

Such dimensions, close to those of the USS Enterprise CVN-65, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to join the US Navy in 1961, which left service in 2017 and which was notably one of the heroes of the first opus of the film Top Gun, show that the Chinese naval industry has now reached a degree of competence that has come into contact with American know-how in this field.

What's more, the Fujian is not simply imposing, it is also very modern, including on board an integrated electric propulsion and a system of three catapults and electromagnetic stopping strands comparable to those which equip the newest class of carriers. US Navy aircraft, the USS Ford.

It will be, as such, particularly interesting to observe the time that will be necessary to complete the ship, and to declare it operational, as well as the time required to build and launch a very probable second unit of the class.

It should be remembered that it only took the Chinese shipyards 3 years to launch the Shandong after the launch of the Liaoning, whereas it took more than 10 years to relaunch the latter after its acquisition from Russia.

An integrated electric propulsion ready for nuclear power

The naval industrial strategy applied by Beijing is, as we know, very methodical, and each new class is enriched by the achievements of the previous one, whether in the technological, industrial or operational field, and this, in a very sustained dynamic.

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