China on Friday launched its third aircraft carrier named Fujian, official media reports here said.The launch was delayed by two months due to the COVID lockdown of Shanghai. It was due to be launched on April 23 around the 73rd anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
China unveiled its 3rd aircraft carrier on Friday named after the eastern coastal province of Fujian, official media reported. China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was a refit of the Soviet-era ship which was commissioned in 2012 followed by the indigenously built 2nd aircraft carrier “Shandong” in 2019. Last month, China launched what was described as the world’s first drone aircraft carrier.
The ship can carry 50 unmanned systems, including unmanned boats, drones and underwater vehicles. China is rapidly modernising its Navy, including the building of new aircraft carriers. Chinese President Xi Jinping who heads the military besides the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) has carried out extensive reforms of the military, including downsizing the Army and enhancing the role of the Navy and Air Force as Beijing set its sights on global expansion with military bases in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.China has also taken over Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port for a 99-year lease and expanded and modernised Pakistan’s Gwadar port in the Arabian Sea.