Type 003 aircraft carrier

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Class overview
Builders: Jiangnan Shipyard
Operators:  People's Liberation Army Navy
Preceded by: Type 002 aircraft carrier
Succeeded by: Type 004 aircraft carrier
Building: 2[1]
General characteristics
Type: Aircraft carrier
Displacement: 85,000 tonnes[2]
Propulsion: conventional with integrated electric propulsion
Aviation facilities: Hangar deck

The Type 003 aircraft carrier is a second-generation Chinese aircraft carrier design. The Type 003 will be the first Chinese carrier to feature an integrated electric propulsion system. This will allow the operation of electromagnetic launch catapults.[3][4] The Type 003 configuration would for the first time be catapult-assisted takeoff barrier arrested recovery (CATOBAR), while the first two carriers were short takeoff barrier arrested recovery (STOBAR).[5] Foxtrot Alpha has suggested that the aircraft carrier is designated the Type 003, rather than the Type 002 as currently thought.[6]


Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo of the People's Liberation Army Navy said in 2013 that China's next aircraft carrier would be equipped with an electromagnetic aircraft launch system.[7] Multiple prototypes were spotted by media in 2012, and aircraft capable of electromagnetic launching were tested in Chinese Navy research facilities.[8]

Construction of the carrier began in the mid-2010s, although the precise date is unknown. The National Interest reported that construction began in March 2015,[9] while The Diplomat said that "initial work" had begun in February 2016, followed by a notice to proceed given to the Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard Group in March 2017.[10] In September 2018, Foxtrot Alpha reported that there were two ships being built in Jiangnan and Dalian Shipyards simultaneously.[6]

The construction of Type 003 aircraft carrier was reportedly delayed in June 2017 while the Navy tested electromagnetic and steam-powered catapult systems.[11] By November 2017, the Navy had reportedly developed a new means of powering electromagnetic catapults with conventional power sources instead of nuclear reactors, and further work on the Type 003 was due to begin imminently.[12][13][14] The design breakthrough is led by Rear Admiral Ma Weiming.

The ship is expected to be launched in 2020 and enter active service in 2023.[10] It is estimated to have an aircraft capacity of about 40 fighter aircraft, several propeller-powered transport and airborne early warning and control aircraft.[15]

On 7 May 2019, the Center for Strategic and International Studies identified overhead imagery of the hull under construction in satellite photographs. The images showed a bow section that appeared to end with a flat 30-metre (98-foot) front and a separate hull section 41 metres wide, suggesting that the vessel will be larger than the unbuilt 85,000-ton Soviet aircraft carrier Ulyanovsk but smaller than the 100,000-ton supercarriers of the United States Navy.[16][17] Its capabilities have also been suggested to be comparable to that of the Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carrier.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Inside China's Plan to Build the Second-Biggest Aircraft Carrier Fleet in the World". Forecast International. September 2018. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  2. ^ "China Reveals Launch Date of New Aircraft Carriers". Sputnik International. 13 February 2017.
  3. ^ Minnie Chan (1 November 2017). "Breakthrough to power most advanced jet launch system on China's second home-grown aircraft carrier". South China Morning Post.
  4. ^ http://www.janes.com/article/75396/china-claims-to-have-developed-conventionally-powered-electromagnetic-catapult
  5. ^ "Aircraft Carrier Project - People's Liberation Army Navy".
  6. ^ a b Mizokami, Kyle (7 September 2018). "Inside China's Plan to Build the Second-Biggest Aircraft Carrier Fleet in the World". Foxtrot Alpha. Jalopnik. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Chinese aircraft carrier should narrow the gap with its U.S. counterpart". english.peopledaily.com.cn. People's Daily. 18 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  8. ^ "简氏:中国试飞改进型歼-15 或用于测试电磁弹射器_《参考消息》官方网站". Cankaoxiaoxi.com. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
  9. ^ "China's Next Aircraft Carrier: Everything We Know (So Far)". The National Interest. 31 March 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  10. ^ a b "China Kicks Off Construction of New Supercarrier". The Diplomat. 5 January 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  11. ^ "China Explores Electromagnetic Carrier Launch System". AIN online. 6 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Breakthrough to power most advanced jet launch system on China's second home-grown aircraft carrier". SCMP. 1 November 2017.
  13. ^ "China's New Aircraft Carrier to Use Advanced Jet Launch System". The Diplomat. 1 November 2017.
  14. ^ "China claims to have developed conventionally powered electromagnetic catapult". Jane's 360. 2 November 2017.
  15. ^ "China's Next Aircraft Carrier Will Be a Massive Leap Forward". Popular Mechanics. 19 January 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  16. ^ Robert Farley (10 May 2019). "The Significance of China's Second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier". The Diplomat. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Exclusive: Analysts - Images show construction on China's third - and largest - aircraft carrier". Reuters. 6 May 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  18. ^ Frank Chen (28 May 2019). "Third PLA carrier could be China's Kitty Hawk". Asia Times. Retrieved 7 June 2019.