China's Fujian Aircraft Carrier Completes Sea Trials as US Navy Faces Decline

China's third aircraft carrier, Fujian, has completed its maiden eight-day sea trial, solidifying China's position as a major naval power. The Fujian, weighing nearly 100,000 tons, is equipped to carry over 50 fighter jets and boasts a flat deck design similar to US carriers.

author-image
Aqsa Younas Rana
New Update
China's Fujian Aircraft Carrier Completes Sea Trials as US Navy Faces Decline

China's Fujian Aircraft Carrier Completes Sea Trials as US Navy Faces Decline

China's third aircraft carrier, PLANS Fujian (Hull 18), has successfully completed its maiden eight-day sea trial and returned to Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard on Wednesday afternoon. This milestone solidifies China's position as a major naval power, with the country now having the second-most active aircraft carriers after the United States.

The Fujian, named after the Chinese province directly facing the Taiwan Strait, boasts a weight of nearly 100,000 tons, comparable to the latest and largest US aircraft carrier, Gerald R. Ford. With a flat deck design similar to US carriers, the Fujian is equipped to carry over 50 various types of fighter jets. During its sea trial, crucial systems such as propulsion, ship power, electricity, and communication were rigorously tested.

Why this matters: The growing naval capabilities of China have significant implications for global power dynamics, as it challenges the dominance of the US Navy and raises concerns about regional security and stability. As China's military spending continues to increase, it may lead to a shift in the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

China's advancements in naval capabilities come at a time when the US Navy faces significant challenges. The US fleet has shrunk to less than 300 ships, the smallest since 1917, raising concerns about its ability to maintain global presence and respond to threats. In contrast, China's military spending is expected to reach a staggering $1.4 trillion between 2024 and 2028, further enhancing its military modernization efforts.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has made notable strides under the leadership of Admiral Dong Jun, the 14th Minister of Defense and the first career PLA Navy (PLAN) officer to hold the position. This appointment underscores the importance Chairman Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party place on transforming China into a great naval power.

The PLAN's growth has been substantial, with the commissioning of its eighth Type 055 Renhai-class cruiser, eight more Type 054A Jiangkai II frigates, and one comprehensive submarine rescue ship in 2023. Additionally, the PLAN launched one Type 075 Yushen-class amphibious assault ship, five cruisers and destroyers, two newer Type 054B frigates, and three nuclear-powered submarines, totaling approximately 170,000 tons.

China's aircraft carriers have also demonstrated their capabilities through various exercises and operations. The Shandong, China's second aircraft carrier, conducted live-fire confrontation drills in the South China Sea in January 2023, showcasing its proficiency in nighttime launch and recoveries. The Shandong carrier strike group (CSG) also participated in exercise Joint Sword, encircling Taiwan in April 2023.

Chinese military expert Fu Qianshao emphasized the PLA Navy's scientific approach, stating, "The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) follows scientific methods and focuses on combat capability, so they will not rush to assign the Fujian ship until it is truly ready."

As China continues to assert its presence as a global military power, the successful sea trials of the Fujian aircraft carrier mark a significant step forward in its naval capabilities. While the PLAN's carrier strike groups may not yet match the US Navy's, the rapid growth and advancements demonstrate China's determination to become a dominant force on the high seas. As the balance of power shifts, the implications of China's rising naval strength will undoubtedly shape the geopolitical landscape in the years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • China's 3rd aircraft carrier, Fujian, completes 8-day sea trial, solidifying China's position as a major naval power.
  • Fujian boasts 100,000 tons, comparable to the US's Gerald R. Ford, and can carry over 50 fighter jets.
  • China's growing naval capabilities challenge US dominance and raise regional security concerns.
  • China's military spending to reach $1.4 trillion by 2028, enhancing its military modernization efforts.
  • Fujian's success marks a significant step forward in China's naval capabilities, shifting the global power balance.