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China is in trouble, nuclear aircraft carriers never appear

Thursday, 11/28/2019 13:00 PM (GMT+7)

China has planned to build its next domestic aircraft carrier, but a nuclear aircraft carrier seems to have been postponed indefinitely.

China is in trouble, nuclear aircraft carriers never appear - 1

China will suspend aircraft carrier construction after completing the fourth ship.

According to SCMP, military observers believe that technical challenges and high costs are the cause China had to stop the program to build aircraft carriers, although initially the ambition could be to build up to 10 aircraft like the US.

China now has the Liaoning aircraft carrier, revived from the Soviet era. Based on that, China has completed construction of its first domestic aircraft carrier, the Type 001. The ship is sailing for trials and will soon be put into naval service.

Plans to build the modern Type 002 aircraft carrier began two years ago. One ship is under construction and China will build another Type 002 within the next two years.

After this period, China’s plan to build a next-generation aircraft carrier, most likely a nuclear one, has been postponed indefinitely. “China has no plans to build a fifth aircraft carrier,” the military source said. “Both the third and fourth aircraft carriers are Type 002 with an electronic launch system.”

All Chinese aircraft carriers built and under construction use conventional power. China is eager to build a modern nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, but it faces many hurdles.

The only nuclear aircraft carrier that is not of the US Navy until now is the French ship Charles de Gaulle.

On November 27, China held a ceremony to mark the merger of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC).

The new company is still called CSIC, with 147 research institutes and businesses, with a total value of up to 790 billion USD. The company has a total of 310,000 employees, according to Xinhua News Agency.

But observers say the merger will not help China build aircraft carriers faster. “Engineers have found a number of problems and one of the barriers is the lack of reliable fighter jets. This issue cannot be resolved in the near future.”

“China is having problems with nuclear technology, even though it has nuclear submarines,” the source added, adding that it seems that building nuclear reactors for large ships is more difficult than for submarines.

Another problem is that the electromagnetic discharge system currently does not work effectively with the J-15 fighter.

“Building an aircraft carrier is currently the most technically demanding and most expensive shipbuilding program,” the source stressed. “This is a big challenge for Chinese engineers in catching up with other countries’ technology.”

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