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Shanghai-based shipyard in full swing as Omicron abates, ‘ready for launch of 3rd aircraft carrier’

In a significant achievement of work resumption after the latest COVID-19 resurgence in Shanghai, the Jiangnan Shipyard on Monday launched three new ships and readied two ships for the next stage of construction, with the shipbuilder vowing to make up for lost time and complete all production missions on time.

At this rate, China’s third aircraft carrier, reportedly also being built at the shipyard, could be launched soon, observers said on Tuesday.

Three ships exited their docks and two were floated from the third and fourth dockyards of the Jiangnan Shipyard on Monday, the shipbuilder said in a press release posted on its WeChat account.

The ships involved were a very large container ship, two very large ethane carriers and two very large gas carriers, according to the press release. This is the first time the Jiangnan Shipyard has achieved such a multi-ship launch involving two dockyards since this year’s epidemic, it said.

“With the full work resumption approaching, we will ride the wave, and continue to use innovative methods to boost efficiency so we can make up for lost time as much as possible and finish all scheduled production missions of the year,” the press release quoted the head of production as saying.

In late April, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy released a promotional video on China’s aircraft carrier program, in which it implied that the country’s third aircraft carrier will be officially revealed soon.

Overseas media previously reported that the carrier was originally planned to be launched on April 23 to celebrate the PLA Navy’s 73rd founding anniversary, but it had to be postponed due to the current COVID-19 resurgence in Shanghai.

With the work resumption at the Jiangnan Shipyard, as demonstrated by its latest ship launches, the third aircraft carrier could be launched soon, a Chinese military expert told the Global Times on Tuesday, requesting anonymity.

Based on the general pattern of shipbuilding, some outfitting work of a ship can be done either before launch or after launch. This means the Jiangnan Shipyard and the PLA Navy can choose when to launch the carrier once its construction has reached a certain level, the expert said.

Reports of some media outlets including the South China Morning Post on Tuesday speculated that the launch could take place on Friday, coinciding with the Dragon Boat Festival.

The construction of the third aircraft carrier was first confirmed by an official report in November 2018. The Xinhua News Agency reported at the time that a new type of aircraft carrier was in construction in an orderly manner on berth.

It is widely believed that China’s third carrier will be larger than the previous two carriers, and it will likely use electromagnetic catapults to replace the previous two carriers’ ski-jump ramps to launch aircraft.
Source: Global Times

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