China’s efforts to increase its naval capacity continue; Work on the third aircraft carrier for the PLA’s (People’s Liberation Army) Navy is in progress. The Jiangnan Naval Shipyard in Shanghai has been expanded; A plot east of the shipyard is occupied. Assembly areas and warehouses are being constructed since mid-2017. A block assembly area for the third carrier, south of the West Basin, was also read out, highly placed defense sources said.
The assembly area is large, about 380 meters by 140 meters; Two gantry cranes were installed in March 2018 and a prefabricated block about 40m by 20m was first seen in July 2018. This, of course, was the first block of the third aircraft carrier. Two more modules from almost the same side joined it in late 2018. The 160-meter-long, composite module was moved to the West Basin and dredging was also lifted in June this year. The module is being floated to be carried to the dock. Defense sources point to remarkably quick construction work.
While it is China’s third aircraft carrier, it is the second to be manufactured domestically. The first, when partially built, was purchased from Liaoning Russia. The second carrier, completed in 2018, and somewhat larger than Liaoning, is currently undergoing sea trials. Of course, this is the first carrier that the Chinese have built independently and can carry around 40 fighter aircraft.
The US ‘axis’ for the Indo-Pacific may be only one reason for Beijing to change its defense plan. The US Navy, the world leader in aircraft carriers, has 11 super-carriers, all of them nuclear-powered and many are under construction. One in service in India, INS Vikramaditya, another is under construction.
Three aircraft carriers translate into a much larger number. This could mean additional pressure in the Indian Ocean in the future.
Source: Times Now News