On June 17 the first Type 003 Class Fujian supercarrier was launched at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai following weeks of anticipation, with the warship estimated to displace between 85,000 and 100,000 tons is by far the largest at sea outside the United States Navy.
The ship, named Fujian at the launch ceremony after the south eastern province, is the third Chinese carrier capable of accommodating fixed wing aircraft. It follows the warships Liaoning and Shandong Class design.
The ship introduces capabilities never before seen outside American carrier programs, with its flat deck and lack of the ski jump launch system seen on prior ships accommodating an electromagnetic catapult launch system expected to revolutionize the capabilities of its air wing.
The use of such a launch system was first announced in 2013, and allows much heavier aircraft with more fuel and munitions to operate from its deck. Designed with conventional rather than nuclear propulsion, the ship is speculated to be intended for operations in the Pacific possibly beyond East Asia into the Eastern Pacific.
The ships air wing is expected to include not only enhanced J-15B 4++ generation’ fighters, but also KJ 600 airborne early warning aircraft, stealth fighters based on the FC-31 design, J-15D electronic attack jets, and a range of drones among other assets.