China’s most advanced aircraft carrier Fujian sets out for maiden sea trials

Shenyang J-15 on Liaoning
ermaleksandr / flickr / Creative Commons

China’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier Fujian has set out from Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai for its maiden sea trials.  

The state operated Xinhua News Agency reported that the 300-meter aircraft carrier was towed by tugboats from the shipyard at around 08:00 local time on May 1, 2024.  

Fujian is the first of China’s aircraft carriers to be constructed with an electro-magnetic catapult system which is capable of launching fighter jets with heavier loads.   

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) currently operates two other aircraft carriers, Shandong and Liaoning, both of which use the ski-jump takeoff.   

According to Global Times, two navigation restriction notices were issued on April 30, 2024.  

The first that a large ship will leave the estuary of the Yangtze River on May 1, 2024, and the second that military activities will begin on the same day in an area of the East China Sea until May 9, 2024.  

The aircraft carrier will carry out a series of sea trials but the first will concentrate on propulsion and power.  

The launch of Fujian is part of China’s aim to strengthen its military forces and compete with the United States (US).     

The US and its allies will no doubt pay close attention to the sea trials and try to gain any insights they can into the aircraft carrier’s capabilities.  

Fujian was first launched at Jiangnan Shipyard on June 17, 2022.  Fujian is believed to have a displacement of more than 80,000 tons. 

The US Gerald R. Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which is currently being built, is over 330 meters long with an estimated displacement of 100,000 tons.  

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