Beijing: China on Monday officially confirmed that it is building its third aircraft carrier which is stated to be “bigger and mightier” than the other two warships, a move by Beijing to bolster its blue-water navy capability to operate far from its shores. A late entrant into aircraft carrier-led naval battleship formations, China launched its first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, in 2012, which was a refit of the former Soviet vessel bought from Ukraine.
Though Liaoning was operationalised and led trial expeditions into the Taiwan Straits, it was widely regarded as an experimental vessel used for mastering technologies, especially to operate the newly-built J-15 planes from its deck. Subsequently, China launched its domestically-built second aircraft carrier and commissioned it for sea trials last year. The yet to be named ship is expected to be put into service by 2020.
China has launched work of building its third aircraft carrier, official news agency Xinhua reported on Monday. A “new-generation carrier” is being constructed at the shipyard as per schedule, the state-run China Daily reported quoting Xinhua.
The Xinhua article, intended to mark the sixth anniversary of the first take-off and landing by a Chinese fighter on the country’s first aircraft carrier CNS Liaoning, the report said, without elaborating about the programme of the “new-generation carrier”.
The Xinhua article is the first official confirmation that China is building a third aircraft carrier, it said. The China Daily report referred to the speculation that the China State Shipbuilding Corp’s Jiangnan Shipyard Group in Shanghai is building a “bigger and mightier” than the Liaoning and the second carrier.