China's Navy is Going Blue Water (Starting With 6 Aircraft Carriers)
China’s rush to rival the United States as an aircraft carrier superpower reflects Beijing’s conviction, inculcated after the perceived humiliation of the Third Taiwan Crisis, that China can neither defend its eleven-thousand-mile-long coastline nor project seapower throughout the East Asia region without fielding a modernized carrier fleet; specifically, six of them by 2035.China is forging ahead with the construction of its third aircraft carrier in under a decade, highlighting the scale of Beijing’s maritime ambitions.A series of satellite images from the Jiangnan shipyard, recently published by a China-focused think tank, shed light on the ongoing construction of China’s Type 002 carrier. The images reveal a typical military vessel construction site, replete with a floodable basin and multiple sluice gates. While the haziness of the photos makes it difficult to discern the carrier’s dimensions, the hull appears to measure forty meters in width by forty-eight meters in length. If prior reports are accurate, Type 002 will be larger and much heavier than its predecessors at a displacement of up to eighty-five thousand tons versus the sixty thousand to seventy thousand tons. The carrier is widely expected to feature a conventional propulsion system, though other technical details remain scant.
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