China Launches Sea Trials for Advanced Aircraft Carrier Fujian

China launches sea trials for its most advanced aircraft carrier, the Fujian, marking a major milestone in its naval ambitions and raising concerns in the Indo-Pacific region.

author-image
Nitish Verma
Updated On
New Update
China Launches Sea Trials for Advanced Aircraft Carrier Fujian

China Launches Sea Trials for Advanced Aircraft Carrier Fujian

China has launched sea trials for its third and most advanced domestically-built aircraft carrier, the Fujian, from the Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard on May 1, 2024. The Fujian set out to sea, marking the start of its testing and evaluation process by the Chinese navy.

The sea trials will primarily focus on testing the reliability and stability of the aircraft carrier's propulsion and electrical systems. Since its launch in June 2022, the Fujian has completed its mooring trials, outfitting work, and equipment adjustments, meeting the technical requirements for conducting the sea trials.

The Fujian is larger and more advanced than China's previous aircraft carriers, the Shandong and the Liaoning. It is equipped with next-generation launch tracks that can catapult a wider range of aircraft from its deck. "The Fujian is the largest and mightiest warship any Asian nation has ever built, displacing over 80,000 metric tons of water," according to naval experts. It has a larger flight deck and smaller superstructure compared to its predecessors.

The development of the Fujian is part of China's efforts to become the preeminent military power in the region, with a 'blue-water' navy capable of projecting power far from its coast. The sea trials are a final step before the aircraft carrier is put into service by China's navy. Currently, only the United States has more aircraft carriers than China.

Why this matters: The launch of the Fujian's sea trials signifies a major achievement in China's naval capabilities and its ambition to have a world-class navy. As tensions rise in the Indo-Pacific region, the Fujian's development is likely to be closely watched by neighboring countries and the United States.

The Fujian is one of the most important military hardware projects for China. Its successful completion of the sea trials will bring China one step closer to having six aircraft carriers by 2035, making it the world's second-largest blue-water navy after the US. Taiwan's defense ministry has warned that the Fujian would pose a "substantial threat" to the island in the event of a cross-strait conflict.

Key Takeaways

  • China launched sea trials for its 3rd and most advanced aircraft carrier, the Fujian.
  • The Fujian is larger and more advanced than China's previous carriers, displacing over 80,000 tons.
  • The sea trials will test the Fujian's propulsion and electrical systems before it enters service.
  • The Fujian's development is part of China's efforts to become a preeminent military power.
  • Taiwan's defense ministry warns the Fujian would pose a "substantial threat" in a cross-strait conflict.