In its efforts to play catchup with the United States military, China launched a massive new aircraft carrier this month. The endeavor was a major feat for the communist country that had never before designed and built its own flattop, according to the Associated Press.
This new ship is Beijing’s third carrier to launch under the command of President Xi Jinping and is by far its most impressive, with the first two being ex-Soviet models that had originally been bought for scrap, Al Jazeera said.
The 100,000-plus ton Type 003 carrier named Fujian, which is more than 1,000 feet long, turned heads when it made its first splash at a shipyard just outside Shanghai. Analysts said the new ship’s capabilities, from launching tech to weaponry, might even rival the carriers of the West, including the U.S., the AP reported.
China is now on its way to meeting its goal of having six carrier strike groups by 2035.
So should America be worried?
In a March 8 report to Congress, the Congressional Research Service said, “China’s navy is viewed as posing a major challenge to the U.S. Navy’s ability to achieve and maintain wartime control of blue-water ocean areas in the Western Pacific — the first such challenge the U.S. Navy has faced since the end of the Cold War.”
Despite these advances by the PRC and the fact that the country has more front-line warships than the U.S., the Chinese fleet is no match for the U.S. Navy when it comes to firepower.
The U.S. has more than twice the number of offensive missiles and bigger, more heavily armed vessels. Combined with advanced nuclear power and greater overall tonnage, the American fleet still holds an advantage.
However, China is determined to modernize and expand its operations quickly beyond this new aircraft carrier and is currently out-producing the U.S. Navy. Though Beijing is a few decades behind in its seafaring capabilities, the Xi government is doing everything it can to close the gap.