China's New Carrier Is Important, But No Game Changer

This week China launched—meaning deposited in the water for the first time—its latest aircraft carrier, the Type 003. Dubbed Fujian, China’s third flattop will now undergo several years of outfitting before becoming battleworthy come 2025 or thereabouts. Fujian bulks larger than its predecessors, a refitted Soviet carrier and an upgraded, Chinese-built version of the same rudimentary design. The Type 003 is equipped with catapults—reportedly electromagnetic rather than steam-driven—and thus will be able to handle heavier-laden aircraft than her forbears, which depended on ski jumps mounted on the bow to loft warplanes skyward.


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