China to Deploy Third Aircraft Carrier by 2025, Report Says

The vessel will feature a new compact launch system allowing it to carry more planes.
Chris Young
China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning swimming in Hong Kong waters.Baycrest/Wikimedia Commons

China is expected to deploy its third and most-advanced aircraft carrier by 2025 as part of the country's five-year plan aimed at modernizing its military, the state-owned Global Times reported on Tuesday.

The new aircraft carrier is likely to host the Chinese navy's first electromagnetic catapult system, which will allow it to launch planes on smaller runways and consequently will allow for a larger aircraft capacity.


Allowing constant aircraft carrier deployment

The new aircraft carrier will be an essential addition to China's military arsenal, amidst escalating diplomatic tensions between China and the United States.

As Nikkei Asia reports, due to training and maintenance times, a minimum of three aircraft carriers are needed to allow for a country to always have at least one vessel deployed.

As a point of comparison, the country with the largest fleet of aircraft carriers, the U.S., has 11 vessels deployed globally.

According to the Global Times, military analyst sources say the new carrier is part of the Chinese Communist Party's five-year plan which will run through to 2025.

Escalating tensions

China's second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, was commissioned only last year. The vessel, which features an upward-curved ski-jump takeoff ramp, was the first of its kind to be domestically designed and built.

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The country's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, entered active service in 2012 and was based on a Soviet design.

The third aircraft carrier is expected to hit the sea sometime next year, though it isn't likely to be in active service until 2025 or later.

Alongside the deployment of China's third aircraft carrier, the country is also likely to deploy its H-20 stealth strategic bomber in 2025, the Global Times reports.

The H-20 will reportedly have the capacity to carry nuclear weapons with a range of 5281 miles (8,500 km), meaning U.S. military bases would be in range from Chinese military bases.

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