Satellite images of the PLA’s new asset – the Type 003 aircraft carrier – suggest China is making “considerable progress” on the warship, with its flight deck and superstructure showing signs of completion. The vessel under development at the Jiangyan Shipyard near Shanghai is expected to enhance Beijing’s naval capabilities and will be the largest and most technologically advanced vessel to be built outside the United States for decades.
Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery, a retired commander of the Japan-based USS George Washington aircraft carrier strike group, told the Washington Times that China is closing in on US capabilities.
He said, “China is bridging the technology gap with the United States, except for nuclear propulsion. “
Not much is known about the new aircraft carrier, but reports suggest the Chinese ship is around 318 meters in length, just a few feet from similar U.S. ships.
He told Foreign Policy: “The trend is for China to try to build a blue water navy, and that’s what this third carrier and this plan beyond is all about.
“It’s more to project power into the Indo-Pacific and beyond. “
Mr. Sayers added: “It is certainly enough to keep the Commander of the US Pacific Fleet awake at night.
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Speaking about what the development of the new aircraft carrier means for China’s military actions in the South China Sea, Jerry Hendrix, retired Navy captain and former head of the US Department of Defense, believes China will become more aggressive.
“I think they are going to become more confrontational,” he said.
“With their aircraft carriers, they may think they’re going to be able to establish maritime control long enough to be able to carry out an amphibious assault.
“They’re going beyond aircraft carriers as just prestige platforms, and they’re moving on to something much more complex.
“They’re heading for a power projection platform that can project prescriptions over a longer distance. “