China challenges US with its first super aircraft carrier – 06/17/2022 – World

With great fanfare, China launched its first super aircraft carrier, Fujian, into the sea this Friday. The most powerful ship ever built outside the US symbolizes the assertiveness of the communist regime in the context of the Cold War 2.0 against Washington and in the face of the turmoil of the conflict in Ukraine.

It is the third ship of its type operated by Beijing, and the first of a similar category to that of the American giants, although there are few details available. Fujian took four years to build.

The Chinese are now the only country in the world with more than two aircraft carriers, in addition to the US and its incomparable fleet of 11 warships that mark Washington’s global power projection since the end of World War II in 1945. Today, only ten nations have this type of weapon.

Beijing projects a fleet of six or seven carrier strike groups. A fourth model is under construction, perhaps nuclear-powered, something that only the US and France dominate. Banners in Fujian spoke of China heading towards “a navy with blue waters”, that is, with the capacity to operate far from its ports.

Strategically, Beijing’s priority is to dominate its immediate strategic surroundings, such as the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea. Since its economy depends on sea lanes, the idea of ​​projecting strength into the Indian Ocean, where they are concentrated, and perhaps contesting American power in the Pacific is on the table.

Not coincidentally, Washington launched the new version of the Cold War in 2017. A conflict is speculated, but it seems unlikely, although triggers such as an eventual takeover of Taiwan are at hand.

The Ukrainian War also changed the geopolitical landscape. The Chinese are testing the Western reaction to the conflict, with the application of sanctions against Moscow, as a prelude to what would happen to them. And Xi Jinping maintains firm support for Vladimir Putin, suggesting a global division into blocs.

For that, military force is as important as economic. The US took notice of Chinese assertiveness under Xi, at the head of the communist dictatorship since 2012, and activated a network of allies in the Indo-Pacific.

From a naval power point of view, China will be a long way from the US for a long time. But it does not give up the aircraft carriers, demonstrating that the fear of analysts that these mastodons would become obsolete with the advance of hypersonic missiles and other weapons is not shared by the powers. There’s also prestige: the less-military-weighted UK has two advanced models in action.

The vessel will still take some time to come into operation, but the expectation is that it will take less time than in the case of its two predecessors, the Liaoning (six years of testing) and the Shandong (about one year).

While the two models in operation are derivatives of Soviet designs, one adapted and the other made in China, the Fujian was entirely designed locally and has characteristics equal only to the most advanced American model, the new generation Gerald Ford.

The main one is the aircraft launch deck, flat as on Western ships and without the auxiliary ramp of the Soviet versions. Like the new Americans, the aircraft are assisted by electromagnetic catapults, more efficient than the usual ones powered by steam at high pressure.

Little is known about the Fujian, named after a southeastern Chinese province — local media speculated that the ship would take its name from another location, Jiangsu. Two structures with patriotic phrases concealed her deck. It is estimated to displace 80,000 tonnes to 100,000 tonnes, not the 60,000 tonnes suggested by local analysts, and satellite images suggest it is 320 meters long — compared with 337 meters for the Gerald Fords. It should be able to carry more than 60 aircraft.

The launch featured a national anthem, flag hoisting, jets of colored smoke and water at the Jiangnan docks in Shanghai. The opening event was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic and successive Chinese lockdowns, and this year alone the expected date was postponed twice.

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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