The power of China’s Aircraft Carrier Type 003 is in the spotlight. Many experts and media have made preliminary assessments of this ship.

According to the Center For Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), China’s regime started producing Type 003 in late 2018 at Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai.

Type 003 is China’s third aircraft carrier. It will be considerably larger than its predecessors, the Liaoning and Shandong, each measuring 304.5 meters in length. 

It’s worth noting that Liaoning is converted from the Soviet aircraft carrier Riga. Meanwhile, Shandong is considered a copy of Liaoning.

CSIS estimated Type 003 waterline dimensions at roughly 300 meters in length and 40 meters in width. As the flight deck has taken shape, the vessel’s overall length has increased to approximately 315 meters, and its width at the widest point has expanded to 74 meters.

According to South China Morning Post, The Type 003 aircraft carrier is a next-generation ship equipped with more advanced technology than the other two carriers, including electromagnetic catapult launch systems rather than Soviet-era ski-jump launch ramps.

Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert, said in an interview with VOA that his personal summary of the 003 aircraft carrier is that the first is “big,” the second is “new,” and the third is “strong.”

“Big” means that the tonnage of the 003 will be much larger than the previous two carriers. 

The displacement of Type 003 is more than 80,000 tons. Meanwhile, the displacement of the Liaoning and Shandong ships is about 60,000 tons.

“New” refers to many new technologies on the ship, including electromagnetic catapults, intelligent integrated power distribution systems, and shipborne early warning aircraft.

“Strong” refers to the strong combat effectiveness of the Type 003 aircraft carrier. There will be more carrier-based aircraft and more frequent take-off and landing capabilities, and its endurance and support capabilities are also more robust.

However, Shu Xiaohuang, a Taiwan military think tank, told VOA that although the 003 aircraft carrier uses an electromagnetic ejection system, it still uses traditional power. There will be considerable fuel consumption problems, whether it uses a gas turbine or a steam turbine to generate power. Therefore, the 003 aircraft will inevitably need to maintain a long supply line behind it.

Song Xuewen, the founding director of the Institute of Strategy and International Affairs of Taiwan’s Chung Cheng University, told VOA that even if China’s third aircraft carrier is launched, it will take two to three years or even five or six years before it has real combat capability.

Song said that compared with the U.S., which has 11 aircraft carriers on missions, some of which are 100,000-ton electromagnetic catapult aircraft carriers, China has only three aircraft carriers.

Nikkei says electromagnetic catapults are currently only used in the newest U.S. nuclear-powered carriers, and they require sophisticated technology to operate and are prone to breakdowns.

A Japanese government source told Nikkei that “The U.S. military has had a difficult time with developing and operating the catapult.” 

“It’s hard to believe that China will put it to practical use.”

Sharing the same opinion as Shu Xiaohuang, Nikkei said there are also doubts about whether the new Chinese carrier, which runs on conventional fuel, can power the energy-intensive system.

According to the original plan, China’s regime would launch Type 003 on June 3. But, this plan was postponed. 

According to South China Morning Post, two independent sources close to the Chinese military said there might be technical problems related to the next phase of the construction of Type 003.

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