China’s new Type 003 aircraft carrier, named Fujian, left its dry dock in Shanghai on Friday as China attempts to compete with the US’s military.
The Fujian is the first fully Chinese designed and built aircraft carrier, featuring China’s newest military technology. The 80,000 ton ship will allow China to project its military power beyond its shores.
The carrier features an electromagnetic catapult system compared to the ski-jump system employed on the two previous carriers. The US navy was the only navy to feature an electromagnetic catapult system prior to the Fujian’s launch. This system will potentially allow the People’s Liberation Army Navy to launch more and heavier aircrafts.
China’s previous two carriers were named after its provinces, Shandong and Liaoning. The new carriers named after the Fujian province, located in the southeast of the country, is across the straight from Taiwan. The naming seems to be an attempt to send a message to Taiwan and the west.
It will still be at least a year till the Fujian becomes operational and capable of launching aircraft off of its jets of the flight deck. Once it becomes fully operational China will be able to further protect its interests in the Pacific and the South China sea.