China unveils next-generation aircraft carrier with rare aircraft catapult

Chinese state media has revealed fresh images of China’s new, next generation aircraft carrier – the most advanced in the country’s naval fleet.

Named the Fujian, the vessel has been entirely designed and built domestically and is China’s first carrier to be fitted with a rare electromagnetic catapult system that can launch a wider range of aircraft on deck.

The highly sophisticated electro-magnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) to date only features on the Fujian and Ford-Class aircraft carriers, a new class of carriers being developed for the United States navy.

The huge carrier was nearly complete and could make its maiden voyage soon, reported Chinese state media.

Notably, the Fujian has been designed and built entirely domestically

As the third aircraft carrier in the Chinese navy, it is technologically more advanced than the Shandong, commissioned in 2019, and the Liaoning, which China bought second-hand from Ukraine in 1998 and refitted domestically.

It was first shown to the public in June 2022, and has been explicitly linked in state media broadcasts as the military response to president Xi Jinping’s “national rejuvenation” goals, which includes unifying China and Taiwan.

President Xi Jinping has repeatedly called for increased combat-readiness ahead of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 2027.