China Confirmed that it is Building a 4th Aircraft Carrier

The Chinese Navy confirmed for the first time that it is building a fourth aircraft carrier and said it will soon announce this warship model.

In an interview on the sidelines of the ongoing parliamentary session in Beijing, Admiral Yuan Huazhi, political commissar of the Chinese navy, said that the development of the country’s fourth aircraft carrier is going smoothly and without any problems. Encountered any technical problems during the process of building the warship.

This is the first time Chinese officials have confirmed that they are building a fourth aircraft carrier, commonly known as the Type 004, although illustrations of this warship model have long appeared on the Internet. According to Chinese media, The photo originates from the Jiangnan shipyard in Shanghai city, where the Type 004 ship is being built.

When asked whether China’s new aircraft carrier would run on nuclear power, Mr. Yuan replied: “We will reveal it to everyone soon.”

“Chinese aircraft carriers are built not only to compete with the US but also to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as national rights and interests,” the official said when asked about the difference between the combat capabilities of Chinese and American aircraft carriers.

Mr. Vien also emphasized that Beijing is capable of dealing with the aircraft carrier fleet that Washington is deploying in the Western Pacific, adding that Chinese aircraft carriers are expected to operate in distant waters.

The Chinese Navy currently owns three aircraft carriers, of which the first, Liaoning, was converted from a heavy cruiser purchased from Ukraine. After commissioning the Liaoning in September 2012, Beijing used the knowledge and experience gained from this warship to build its first domestic aircraft carrier, the Shandong, and commissioned it in December 2019.

Fujian is China’s third aircraft carrier. The ship launched in June 2022 and is expected to conduct many sea trials this year.

Considered to be the main focus of China’s effort to build a “blue sea” navy that can engage in long-term offshore combat, the Fujian ship is the most modern aircraft carrier model that Beijing currently owns.

This warship is equipped with electromagnetic catapults and momentum-arresting cables, unlike the old jump bridge design of the Liaoning and Shandong warships, allowing it to launch fighter ships more often. However, the Fujian ship only uses conventional engines like the other two Chinese aircraft carriers.

Experts believe that Beijing could equip the Type 004 ship with a nuclear reactor, giving it enough energy to operate farther from shore and move at a faster speed.

Sources from the Chinese military said in 2022 that the country’s nuclear reactor technology was not advanced enough to equip aircraft carriers, but it is unclear whether Beijing has made progress in this field. How far is this area?