Chinese Third and Fourth Aircraft Carriers
with Nuclear-Powered. China’s military wants to field its first
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier by the middle of the next decade, according to a new report.
The China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation announced on Tuesday a list of ambitions it
hopes to achieve in weaponry and technical developments for the People’s Liberation Army-Navy
by 2025, the state-backed Global Times reported. It was the first time a Chinese defense firm
revealed that a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was on its list of priorities, the Global
Time notes, adding that the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation. The defense company said it will “speed the
up the process of making technological breakthroughs in nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, new-type
nuclear submarines, quiet submarines, maritime unmanned intelligent confrontation systems,
maritime three-dimensional offensive and defensive systems and naval warfare comprehensive electronic
information systems,” according to the Global Times.
As China’s second aircraft carrier is being prepared for launch in late April, experts
are predicting what kind of technological breakthroughs the third China-made carrier
may have. During an interview with BTV, a Chinese military,
expert Xu Guangyu made his forecast suggesting that the third aircraft carrier may be nuclear-powered.
“The first domestically built carrier is likely to be like the Liaoning [China’s first
aircraft carrier]. It will be conventionally powered and use a ski-jump take-off, whereas
the second one is likely to use a catapult take-off. The third one, however, will benefit
from major breakthroughs and may even be nuclear-powered,” China Daily newspaper reported Xu as saying.
Experts further predict that the third China-made carrier may even have the capacity for an
electromagnetic launch. “The development of Chinese aircraft carriers
is a slow but steady process. From platform construction to personnel training, it’s all
gradual,” Xu said. The Chinese media reported that the second
aircraft carrier carrier could be launched in late April 2017. According to some experts,
the likely date is April 23 which is the anniversary date of the founding of the PLA Navy.
For now, China’s navy has two aircraft carriers running on conventional oil. The French Navy’s
flagship, the Charles de Gaulle, is the only non-US aircraft carrier powered by nuclear
reactors. Each Nimitz-class and Ford-class carrier in the US Navy is or will be run by
nuclear power. China’s ambition is to have four carrier groups
operating with the People’s Liberation Army-Navy by 2030. The Liaoning is currently the only
carrier in the fleet, but the Type 001A is expected to go into full service by the end
of 2018. The Type 001A was the first aircraft carrier built by shipyard workers in China,
yet China is already at work building its third domestically produced carrier with nuclear
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