China launches the country’s third aircraft carrier in Shanghai on June 17, 2022. Photo: Xinhua
China’s third aircraft carrier has begun docking trials, the country’s state-run television channel said on Friday. That indicates steady progress in building and testing the carrier since its launch in June, analysts said.
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the commissioning of the country’s first aircraft carrier, the liaoningon Sunday, China Central Television (CCTV) announced on Friday that the country’s third aircraft carrier, the Fujianperforms mooring tests as planned.
Over the past few days, the Fujian underwent equipment installation and calibration work, with related test missions being carried out at the same time, according to a separate CCTV report on Friday.
With a displacement of over 80,000 tons and being the first carrier in the country equipped with electromagnetic catapults and arresting devices, the Fujian was launched in Shanghai on June 17.
Official reports at the time indicated that after the launch, the carrier would begin docking trials and sea trials.
The latest development indicates that the FujianConstruction and testing are going smoothly, a Beijing-based military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Friday.
Typically in shipbuilding, mooring trials are carried out when a vessel is moored in port and include testing equipment and machinery on board and their compatibility with each other, the expert said.
According to the CCTV report, work on the installation and calibration of equipment, or equipment, is currently underway, which may shorten the time required for this phase, the expert said, noting that the next phase of the plan is sea trials, which will likely begin. in the next year or so.
The capital works include the installation of equipment such as fuel lines, gas lines, electrical appliances and weapon systems, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times in a previous interview.
As it is China’s first major aircraft carrier with catapults, fitting out work may take longer than usual to ensure everything is done correctly, Song said.
In another development, the liaoningwhich is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary of service, recently conducted an exercise in the Bohai Sea, and CCTV for the first time broadcast footage showing a fully loaded aircraft liaoningwith 24 J-15 fighter jets, two Z-8 helicopters and one Z-9 helicopter on its flight deck.
This is the largest number of J-15s displayed on board the liaoning. Over the past decade, the number has grown from one to five, eight, 13 and now 24, showing the growing capabilities of the carrier group, observers noted.
It took five years to liaoning to accommodate 1,000 take-off and landing operations for J-15s, and it only took two and a half years for the next 1,000 such operations, China Youth Daily reported Thursday.
China now has more fighter jets on board as well as more pilots capable of flying the planes, Zhang Xuefeng, a Chinese military expert, told the Global Times on Friday.
China is also much more experienced in operating and supporting aircraft on aircraft carriers, Zhang said. It is complex and difficult to operate and support more than 20 fighters rather than one or two, he said.
In the future, the number of carrier-based aircraft will continue to increase, as will the types of carrier-based aircraft, which will greatly improve the systematic and comprehensive combat capabilities of a carrier-based combat group, Zhang said.
The liaoning and the country’s second aircraft carrier, the shandongrecently held drills in the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea, according to another CCTV report.
As China enters its 10th year of carrier operation, its three carriers are rapidly increasing their capabilities, observers said.