With the perceived fading military might of Russia on the horizon, China has positioned itself well as a potential Number 2 Power and has long sought to rival - and eventually surpass - the global military presence of the United States. This has been addressed through various means - obtaining ex-Soviet equipment, direct purchases from Russia, securing American-originated goods through 3rd Party sources, and blatant re-engineering of proven American-design solutions such as the HUMVEE utility vehicle and "Black Hawk" multi-mission helicopter.
Perhaps the grandest of all developments appearing today is CNS Fujian, a conventionally-powered Type-003 series aircraft carrier mimicking the Nimitz-class in both form-and-function.
Fujian was formally launched on June 17th, 2022 out of Shanghai to much fanfare and joins two other in-service carriers with the PLAN - CNS Liaoning (16) and CNS Shandong (17) coming online in 2012 and 2019, respectively. Construction of the new warship was undertaken from March 2015 at the Jiangnan Shipyard and is the only ship representing the Type-003 class - which is already set to be superseded by the nuclear-powered "Type-004" design.
Displacement of the new ship is 72,000 tons under standard load and 80,000 tons under full load. Dimensions include a running length of 1,049.9 feet with a beam measuring 255.9 feet. Unlike the American Nimitz- and Ford-class carriers, Fujian is conventionally-powered and not nuclear driven which limits its strategic reach beyond Pacific waters.
CNS Fujian is a departure from the previous two PLAN aircraft carrier entries in that the forerunners were modifications of, or influenced from, existing, ex-Soviet Navy carrier designs (namely the unfinished Kuznetsov-class "Varyag" which makes up CNS Liaoning today). This led the ships to be strategically limited by modern standard through their conventional power schemes, limited onboard storage, and showcased "ski-jump" ramps over the bow. Being more in line with modern American designs, Fujian now expands onboard storage and features an angled flat flight deck with the island superstructure set to starboard side of the hull. The old ski-jump approach is succeeded by more modern electro-magnetic catapult launches which require entire launch crews for optimal operation and aircraft are "arrested" / recovered in the conventional cable-line fashion.
It is assumed that the vessel supports the latest People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft with hangar decks facilitating movement of the airframes above and below deck. Though numbers have not been published, it is assumed that the carrier would be able to house at least sixty fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft types of various makes, models, and over-water roles.
Defense of the vessel is also assumed to be point-defense in nature, made up of Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) systems and Close-In-Weapon System (CIWS) emplacements about the design - this is consistent with American carrier design philosophy which largely relies on the complete carrier fleet (supporting warships) for its primary defense.
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June 2022 - CNS Fujian has been formally launched on June 17th, 2022.
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