The Chinese Government has revealed for the first time the construction of a new aircraft carrier, third one in the fleet of the People’s Liberation Army.

In an article devoted to the sixth anniversary of the first aircraft carrier, the state news agency “Xinhua” revealed some hints about the future of the country’s naval forces.

“It’s been six years, our new homemade aircraft carrier has been tried, and its commissioning is a matter of time.”, the article said.

China’s second aircraft carrier is called Type 001A (according to some sources aka Shandong), is the first homemade vessel of this type and has passed maritime trials earlier in 2018.

But last year there were a lot of rumours that another, more advanced ship is already in the process of construction in the country. In June, Research Institute No. 701 of the Shipbuilding Industry Corporation in China, which is one of the largest Chinese ship design companies, has intensified the rumours when it published a mock-up of an unidentified aircraft carrier.

The Chinese state media speculated that the new vessel will have an electromagnetic catapult system to launch aircraft, which is going to be similar to the technology used for the most recent and most advanced aircraft fleet of US navy.

Both the first aircraft carrier Liaoning and Type 001A use the older, less standard launch system, known as “ski jump”, which relies on the aircraft’s own power to rise.

Thus, the full construction of the new aircraft carrier is likely to take more than two years until it is completed due to its comparative complexity and larger size. It is also assumed that the new ship is being built in Shanghai.

At the moment, the United States has 11 aircraft carriers. Beijing will probably not need so much, but it has already been categorical that three is the absolute minimum. The announcement again demonstrates the rapid modernisation of the Chinese Army over the last decades. Beijing has not given up on its intention to build a modern and powerful battle fleet capable of extending the country’s scope globally and competing with the US.

In 2018, the Chinese military budget increased by 8 percent compared to the previous year to a total of $175 billion. Between 2010 and 2017, the Chinese fleet increased the construction of vessels from 210 to 320 annually.