China launched its new Type 003 aircraft carrier at the Jiangnan Shipyard of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation in Shanghai on 17 June.
The vessel – named Fujian and given the hull pennant number 18 – is the People Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) third aircraft carrier, and the first indigenous design.
Unlike the older Liaoning and Shandong carriers which both have ski-jump launch ramps, Fujian reportedly features a modern electro-magnetic arrest and launch system (EMALS) like that on the US Navy’s new Ford class carriers. Images from the launch show the three catapults covered by temporary housings.
Analysts say the new vessels displaces about 80,000 tonnes, and that it looks largely complete and should not require much additional work before commencing sea trials. When operational, the Fujian is expected to embark up to 55 aircraft comprising J-15 and J-35 fighters, KJ-600 AEW&C aircraft, and Z-9 and Z-18 helicopters.