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Chinese Aircraft Carrier Fujian Goes for Sea Trials

Chinese Aircraft Carrier Fujian Goes for Sea Trials

China’s first aircraft carrier with EMALS catapult system, Type 003 Fujian, is likely to begin sea trials soon. Maritime traffic controls have been imposed around the Yangtze River shortly after reports from Chinese media surfaced regarding the new carrier starting its tests shortly. Type 003 Fujian’s EMALS catapult was tested in November 2023 using dummy loads to simulate the weight of an aircraft. The carrier will operate fighter jets and carrier-based AEW&C as its fixed-wing aircraft. The ships are the second to use EMALS catapults after the U.S.-built Gerald R. Ford class. EMALS catapults have substantial benefits over typical steam catapults on older-generation aircraft carriers. These include smaller sizes, higher degree of force adjustability, elimination of superfluous force on aircraft, distribution of system on vessel and increased energy efficiency. Type 003 Fujian is a critical step in China's aircraft carrier development roadmap. The other Chinese carriers, Type 001 Liaoning and Type 002 Shandong, use STOBAR (Short Take-off but Arrested Landing) operations, whilst Fujian is the first to use CATOBAR (Catapult Assisted Take-off but Arrested Landing) with an EMALS.

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