China’s PLA Navy is implementing a massive modernization plan to counter the US Navy’s domination in the high seas and is desperately expanding its inventory with new aircraft carriers.
Satellite images show that the size of the upcoming Chinese aircraft carrier — the Type 003 — is almost the same as the US Navy’s latest Ford-class super-carriers.
In a new analysis, defense expert H.I. Sutton has revelated the massive size of PLA’s next aircraft carrier ( under construction). Unlike its predecessors, the latest aircraft carrier, or rather a ‘super-carrier’, would employ Catapult Assisted Take-Off and Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) configuration and would be significantly larger than its previous two carriers.
According to Sutton, the carrier’s flight deck is expected to be much larger. With its lower hull, the carrier could be of a similar size to the American supercarriers. While the ship may not be exactly as large as its American counterparts, it would be “close” until France builds its PANG carrier.
As per satellite images, its waterline length is estimated to be about 300 meters (985 feet). This is slightly less than the Ford-class’ 317 meters (1,040 feet) but longer than the previous carriers. China’s Type-001 Liaoning and Type-002 Shandong carriers are about 270 meters (885 feet) long at the waterline, he said.
The CATOBAR system would allow the Chinese warship to launch much larger and specialized aircraft such as its homegrown KJ-600 AEW — much like the American E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.