Beijing launched a new-generation aircraft carrier Friday, the first such ship to be both designed and built in China, in a milestone as it seeks to extend the range and power of its navy.
The Type 003 carrier christened Fujian left its drydock at a shipyard outside Shanghai in the morning and tied up at a nearby pier, state media reports said.
State broadcaster CCTV showed assembled navy personnel standing beneath the massive ship as water jets sprayed over its deck, multi-colored streamers flew and colorful smoke was released.
Equipped with the latest weaponry and aircraft-launch technology, the Type 003 ship’s capabilities are thought to rival those of Western carriers, as Beijing seeks to turn its navy, already the world’s largest, into a multi-carrier force.
Satellite imagery captured by Planet Labs PBC on Thursday and analyzed by The Associated Press showed the carrier in what appeared to be a fully flooded drydock at the Jiangnan Shipyard, near Shanghai, ready for launch. It was draped with red bunting, presumably in preparation for the launch ceremony.
“This is an important milestone for China’s military-industrial complex”