Considering it a major military advance, China announced the launch of the country’s third aircraft carrier on Friday, Chinese state media reported.
The launching ceremony for the carrier named Fujian was held in Shanghai’s Jiangnan shipyard.
China’s state broadcaster CCTV described it as the “first catapult-type aircraft carrier wholly designed and built by China.”
Fujian sees grand launch
CCTV footage showed navy personnel standing beneath the ship as water jets sprayed over its deck and multi-colored streamers flew and colorful smoke was released.
Named after the Fujian province, the carrier is more technically advanced than others in the fleet, and is only the second carrier fully built in China.
The Fujian is expected to take years to reach operational capacity. No date has been announced yet for entry into service.
The development comes as tensions between China and the US have increased in recent weeks. Last week, China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said China would do anything in its power to stop Taiwanese independence. The previous month, US President Joe Biden had said Washington would intervene militarily if China attacked Taiwan.
“Sailing and mooring tests will be carried out as planned after the ship is launched,” CCTV reported.
China has two other aircraft carriers in service. The Liaoning was commissioned in 2012, and the Shandong entering service in 2019.These warships use a ski-jump style platform for jets to take off and do not have a catapult system.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to build a “fully modern” force rivalling the United States military by 2027.