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Sea trials of China Navy aircraft carrier Fujian successfully completed.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by on May 5, 2024, the Fujian, China's third and most advanced aircraft carrier, recently returned to port after completing its first sea trials.
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Chinese Navy Type 003 aircraft carrier Fujian. (Picture source: Chinese TV)

Over eight days, the carrier was tested for propulsion, electrical systems, and maneuverability, according to a statement from the PLAN. The Fujian, which was launched in June 2022, was evaluated for its ability to navigate at sea, maneuver at high speeds, and maintain secure communications​​.

The Fujian is distinguished by its electromagnetic catapults and arresting devices, which represent an upgrade over the ski-jump ramps used on China's previous carriers, the Liaoning and Shandong.

This technology will allow for more efficient launches of a wider variety of aircraft, supporting missions like early warning, electronic warfare, and anti-submarine warfare. The ship is estimated to carry 60 to 70 aircraft, including upgraded J-15 fighter jets and KJ-600 early warning planes.

The Fujian's capabilities are intended to enhance China's naval presence in the region, particularly in the South and East China Seas and the Taiwan Strait. Once operational, it will be able to accommodate a range of aircraft, boosting the PLAN's potential strike power and enhancing surveillance. The Pentagon estimates that the ship will be fully commissioned by 2024, while Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense believes it will enter service in 2025 after further testing​​.

While the Fujian completed its initial voyage successfully, additional trials are planned to further test its systems, including its radar, communications, and weapons. It will likely take multiple rounds of testing before the carrier becomes fully operational. The ship is expected to join the East Sea Fleet after commissioning.

A fourth carrier, known as "Type 004," which is expected to incorporate nuclear propulsion, is possibly being built. In 2018 and 2019, Wang Yunfei, a retired officer of the PLA Navy, along with other naval specialists, predicted that China could have five or six aircraft carriers by the 2030s.

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