New aircraft carrier's development in 'orderly progress'
People's Daily Online
(China.org.cn) 14:32, September 30, 2016
The development of China's next-generation aircraft carrier is in "orderly progress," confirmed Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, spokesperson for China's Ministry of National Defense (MOD), at a routine press briefing on Thursday.
Sr. Col. Yang did not directly address the issue of whether the vessel will adopt the much-anticipated catapult assisted takeoff device. He told China.org.cn that the Chinese military will publish such information in "due course."
A recent online photo shows a PLA Navy's carrier-borne J-15 fighter jet with reinforced front landing gear, which keen military fans and experts interpreted as a sign that China has been testing catapults to install on their third aircraft carrier.
Sea-borne aircraft to be launched by a catapult takes extra force during takeoff, meaning reinforced front landing gear is essential.
The MOD official's remark was the first official response to the public's curiosity over the assisted takeoff device for the new aircraft carrier.
The catapult system is a more advanced assisted takeoff device than the ski-takeoff system, because it features higher efficiency and makes better use of the already limited space on a carrier's flight deck.
There is also a wide belief that China's next-generation aircraft carrier will adopt a cutting-edge electromagnetic catapult system, bypassing a steam one commonly used in U.S. aircraft carriers.
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