The construction of the 4th Chinese aircraft carrier has reportedly started

We know that the Chinese Navy is progressing and developing quickly, even very quickly. This is the case for its destroyers and frigates, its conventional and nuclear submarines, or its assault ships. This is also the case for its fleet of aircraft carriers.

While the first Chinese aircraft carrier entered service less than 7 years ago, the Chinese Navy received a second ship, the first of national design, two years later, in 2017. The third aircraft carrier, the Fujian, was launched in June 2022, and should very soon begin its sea trials, with a probable entry into service in 2025.

And the momentum doesn't seem destined to abate. Indeed, according to statements by Chinese military and civilian officials, China has already started construction of the fourth aircraft carrier intended for the Chinese Navy.

The construction of the 4th Chinese aircraft carrier does not encounter technological difficulties

It was during Chinese parliamentary meetings, an annual event in which officials of the People's Liberation Army rarely participate, that Chinese Navy officers confirmed that the construction of the 4th Chinese aircraft carrier had already started.

Chinese aircraft carrier Fujian
The Chinese aircraft carrier CV-18 Fujian is expected to begin sea trials very soon.

On this subject, PLA political commissar Yuan Huazhi, added that the design of this new building was done without any hitches and without technological obstacles. And to add that the propulsion of the ship, conventional or nuclear, will be officially announced soon.

However, many experts believe that developing a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier would be too premature for China's naval industry, as it is for the PLA.

Indeed, it seems that Beijing does not have nuclear boiler rooms deploying a power suitable for the propulsion of an aircraft carrier, a ship which must be capable of sustaining very high speeds, in transit, and especially during aviation maneuvers.

Furthermore, in the next ten or fifteen years, the needs of the Chinese Navy will be concentrated within the second circle of islands surrounding the China Sea, for which a conventionally powered aircraft carrier, otherwise more economical and faster to design and build than a nuclear-powered ship, is more than enough.

The need for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers will certainly appear in the years to come, when the Chinese Navy will have all the means, but also the operational experience, to support long-term power projection missions. distance.

An evolved Fujian sistership for the Chinese Navy?

In fact, the most credible hypothesis concerning this 4th Chinese aircraft carrier would be that it would be a sistership of the Fujian, or, more precisely, an evolution of it, as has been the case of the Shandong, derived from the Liaoning, but bringing numerous developments to make the ship more efficient.

Shandong aircraft carrier e1686745044627 Aircraft carrier | Defense News | Military naval construction
The Shandong aircraft carrier is an evolution of the Liaoning, entirely designed and manufactured in China.

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