China’s 3rd Aircraft Carrier Starts Mooring Trials

  • Bureau
  • 06:43 AM, September 26, 2022
  • 695
China’s 3rd Aircraft Carrier Starts Mooring Trials
CNS Fujian @via Chinese MoD

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) third aircraft carrier “Fujian” has started mooring trials, the country's state broadcaster announced Friday.

Fujian is China’s first aircraft carrier with a fully indigenous design, featuring a CATOBAR system and electromagnetic catapults.

“The latest development indicates that the Fujian's construction and tests are going smoothly,” a Beijing-based military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Friday. This indicates smooth progress for the carrier's construction and tests since its launch in June, analysts said.

On Sunday, the PLA celebrated the 10th anniversary of the commissioning of the country's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, as per Chinese state media.

Over the last few days, the Fujian has been undergoing equipment installation and calibration work, with related test missions being conducted at the same time, according to a separate report by CCTV on Friday.

Having a displacement of more than 80,000 tons and being the country's first carrier equipped with electromagnetic catapults and arresting devices, the Fujian was launched in Shanghai on June 17.

Official reports said at the time that after the launch, the carrier would start mooring trials and sea trials.

As a general pattern in shipbuilding, mooring trials are conducted when a vessel is moored at port and include the testing of onboard equipment and machinery and their compatibility with each other, the expert said.

According to the CCTV report, equipment installation and calibration work, or outfitting, is currently underway, and this could shorten the time needed for this phase, the expert said, noting that the next phase in the plan is sea trials, which will likely start in the next year or so.

Outfitting work includes the installation of equipment such as fuel pipes, gas pipes, electric devices and weapons systems, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times in a previous interview.

Since this is China's first large aircraft carrier equipped with catapults, the outfitting work might take longer than usual to make sure everything is done properly, Song said.

The Liaoning recently conducted an exercise in the Bohai Sea with 24 J-15 fighter jets, two Z-8 helicopters and a Z-9 helicopter on its flight deck. This is the highest number of J-15s displayed onboard the aircraft carrier.

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