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Global Times

UPDATE: Shanghai shipyard to resume production following epidemic after PLA implies imminent launch of 3rd aircraft carrier

Global Times

By Guo Yuandan and Liu Xuanzun Published: Apr 22, 2022 12:16 PM Updated: Apr 23, 2022 07:37 AM

Shanghai-based Jiangnan Shipyard is preparing for resumption of production on Saturday, the 73rd founding anniversary of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, following the COVID-19 resurgence in the city.

The PLA Navy on Friday released a promotional video on China's aircraft carrier program, in which it gave a very obvious hint that the country's third aircraft carrier will be officially revealed soon. It is reported that the carrier is being built in the Jiangnan Shipyard.

The new carrier, expected to feature a number of new technologies including electromagnetic catapults, could be launched within 2022, experts said.

Jointly produced by the PLA Navy Political Publicity Bureau and the PLA News Broadcasting Center, the promotional video is the first of its kind, as it introduces the development of China's aircraft carrier program, including the development of the country's first carrier Liaoning, the second carrier Shandong and the carrier-based fighter jet J-15.

At the end of the video, a naval officer had a phone conversation with his mother, who urged him to have a third child, and the officer replied, "That's the plan." As the phone call went on, the camera moved from the Liaoning, the Shandong, then it went blank.

This is a very clear implication that the country's third aircraft carrier is coming soon. Netizens celebrated on social media, leaving comments like "I'm so excited"; "Will there be a livestream for the launch event?"; "The Type 003 is coming, when will the new J-31 carrier-based fighter jet come?"

Overseas media previously reported that the third aircraft carrier was originally planned to be launched on Saturday to celebrate the PLA Navy's 73rd founding anniversary, but it had to be postponed due to the current COVID-19 resurge in Shanghai, where the carrier is reportedly being built. Some speculations say the carrier might be named after East China's Jiangsu Province.

The Jiangnan Shipyard is preparing for resumption of production on Saturday following the COVID-19 resurgence in the city, China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited said in a press release on Saturday.

The construction of the third aircraft carrier was first confirmed by an official report in November 2018. The Xinhua News Agency reported at the time that a new type of aircraft carrier was in construction in an orderly manner on berth.

China now has experiences with two aircraft carriers, particularly the construction of the Shandong, which enabled China to gain rich experiences that are very important to the construction of the third carrier, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Friday.

According to the general pattern of aircraft carrier construction, it would take three to four years to launch a new carrier after the start of construction, and the third carrier should also follow this pattern, Song said.

But the third carrier features a number of new technologies, so it might take longer. For example, commercial satellite images indicate that it is different from the previous two carriers and uses electromagnetic catapults, he said.

"I think it can be launched in the second half of 2022," Song said.

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