China’s third aircraft carrier under construction, to launch in 2020?


Construction of the Type 002 (CV-18) began in March 2017 at the Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard Group, say reports. It will take years to build and test, before joining the Liaoning and Type 001A Shandong as China’s third aircraft carrier.

China currently has two aircraft carriers in service: the Liaoning, which was built more than 25 years ago, bought from Ukraine, and renovated, and the Type 001A Shandong, which was designed and built completely in China and launched in April 2017. The South China Morning Post reports that the Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard Group was “given the go-ahead to begin work” on a third carrier in March 2017. The new carrier is called the Type 002, or CV-18.

  • The building process will take years. A source told the SCMP that the “shipyard is still working on the carrier’s hull, which is expected to take about two years,” and that this ship will be “more complicated and challenging” than China’s two existing carriers.
  • Naval experts expect this one and a fourth to be integrated into China’s navy by 2030. This will still be far short of the total in the U.S., which has at least 10 aircraft carriers in service — and more depending on your definition.
  • The new carrier will use an electromagnetic launch system that was developed by a Chinese naval engineering team two months ago.
  • The Type 002 will be launched in 2020, and enter service in 2023, according to estimates (paywall) from the Diplomat.



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