Communist Chinese Aircraft Carrier Fujian to Begin Trials Soon
China’s third aircraft carrier, the Fujian, has made smooth progress in mooring trials ahead of its expected maiden voyage later this year, analysts said on Monday, after the latest reports showed the ship has seemingly already tested its auxiliary power systems.
The report by China Central Television (CCTV) on Monday featured an interview with Captain Zhang Chuanqian, head of an undisclosed department on the Fujian.
“As sailors on China’s first aircraft carrier that is equipped with electromagnetic catapults and arresting devices, we aim at realizing the centennial goal of the founding of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), as we are comprehensively enhancing our training and combat preparedness, so we are ready at all times to fight and win,” Zhang said.
A close-up shot of the Fujian, captioned by the CCTV report as the latest footage of the vessel, showed some trails of black smoke on the left side of the hull, down near the waterline.
The smoke trails are possibly an indication of the operation of the ship’s auxiliary power systems, analysts said.
Auxiliary power systems can provide electricity for some subsystems on the ship, and their testing is likely a part of the carrier’s mooring trials, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday.
The mooring trials usually also include the testing of pipelines for liquids and gases, Song said.
When the 80,000 ton-class Fujian was launched on June 17, 2022, CCTV reported that the carrier would start mooring trials and sea trials.
“From what we have seen, the Fujian’s mooring trials are going smoothly,” Song said.
After all the subsystems have passed tests in the mooring trials, sea trials may begin, which will test the propulsion, communications and navigation systems, among others, the expert said.
The Fujian aims to conduct tests and sea trials in 2023, Senior Captain Qian Shumin, executive officer of the Fujian, said on CCTV on in January.
In addition to the Fujian, the PLA Navy has two active aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and the Shandong. The Liaoning is undergoing regular maintenance, while the Shandong is ready for far sea operations after obtaining its combat training certificate last year, according to media reports.