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China PLA Navy aircraft carrier Fujian to start sea trials.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by Oneninety on April 30, 2024, the Chinese PLA Navy's aircraft carrier Fujian, launched in June 2022, is currently undergoing the final stages of preparation for its sea trials.
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The aircraft carrier Fujian. (Picture source: Oneninety)

The Fujian, classified as China's Type 003 aircraft carrier, has a displacement estimated at about 80,000 to 85,000 tons, making it larger than its predecessors in the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). This size increase supports an expanded air wing and more complex sensor systems.

The carrier is presumed to use a conventional steam turbine for propulsion, similar to earlier models, with capabilities suited for extended operational ranges at speeds likely exceeding 30 knots.

A significant technological feature of the Fujian is the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS), which replaces traditional steam catapults. EMALS allows for the launching of a wider variety of aircraft, including heavier and more complex models. This system offers advantages such as reduced mechanical stress on aircraft, faster reset times between launches, and more precise control over launch power.

For defense, the Fujian is expected to be equipped with systems to protect against aerial, missile, and torpedo threats, including close-in weapon systems (CIWS) and surface-to-air missiles.

The Fujian, equipped with electromagnetic catapults, can launch a wider variety of aircraft, including advanced fighters, early warning aircraft, and electronic warfare planes. This enables the Chinese Navy to project force more effectively over greater distances, extending their operational reach.

In a conflict scenario, this capability allows for sustained air operations, providing air cover and strike capabilities that are essential for controlling vast maritime areas and influencing outcomes on land.

This is particularly critical in volatile regions like the South China Sea or near Taiwan, where quick reaction times could be crucial for achieving tactical advantages.

The mere presence of Fujian in a conflict zone represents a significant show of strength. As a flagship carrier, it serves as a deterrent against escalation by signaling China's readiness and capability to defend its interests.

This psychological impact can influence adversarial strategies and decision-making processes, potentially preventing conflicts from escalating or deterring hostile actions against Chinese interests.

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