Chinese state television has released footage of China’s newest aircraft carrier, the Type 003 Fujian. A marvel of engineering and the first domestically developed carrier in the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) fleet, the vessel is slated to participate in sea trials at some point in early 2024.
Chinese Central Television (CCTV) shared the images earlier this week, showing the Type 003 Fujian being towed by a much smaller vessel. According to The Drive, the aircraft carrier was being transported to dry dock, so work could get underway to rectify existing issues with the vessel.
Citing an officer stationed aboard the ship, state television said that “in the new year, we [PLAN] will seize every minute, work with determination, and strive for combat readiness as soon as possible.”
Wow😮CCTV 13 just a few minutes ago released this: either a glimpse from the moment, the PLANS-18 “Fujian” was transferred into the dry dock a few days ago or beginning of the sea-trials? pic.twitter.com/n3Ezhinua5
— @Rupprecht_A (@RupprechtDeino) January 2, 2024
The Type 003 Fujian will be the third aircraft carrier in the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s fleet. Considered a next-generation vessel, she’s been compared to the US Navy’s Gerald R. Ford-class carriers, with analyst Robert Farley going so far as to call the ship the “largest and most advanced” built outside of the United States.
Powered by steam turbines, the aircraft carrier is equipped with electromagnetic catapults (EMALS), which are only present on the Gerald R. Ford-class. These allow the vessel to launch a wider array of aircraft than her predecessors, the Type 001 Liaoning and the Type 002 Shandong.
The Type 003 Fujian was launched in June 2022, marking the first time the public was given a glimpse of the aircraft carrier. In April of the following year, mooring and power trials occurred, with launch tests conducted that November. As aforementioned, she’s expected to complete sea trials at some point in 2024.
According to Reuters, Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the country’s increased combat readiness ahead of events to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 2027. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has been working to overhaul China’s military.