Fighter Jets Seen on Chinese Fujian Carrier During Second Sea Trial

The Fujian is China's first aircraft carrier equipped with an electromagnetic catapult system
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 10:01 AM, June 13, 2024
  • 1599
Fighter Jets Seen on Chinese Fujian Carrier During Second Sea Trial
China's Fujian aircraft carrier during second sea trial @state media

Fighter jets were seen on the deck of the Chinese Fujian aircraft carrier during its second sea trial on Tuesday.

The Fujian is China's first aircraft carrier equipped with an electromagnetic catapult system and will match American carriers, which are equipped with a similar system for quick aircraft launch and recovery.

According to Chinese media reports, the 80,000-ton-class warship concluded its 20-day second trial, returning to its home port of Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai on June 11. Unlike its predecessors, the Liaoning and the Shandong, which relied on ski jump ramps, the Fujian stands out with its electromagnetic catapults, allowing for more efficient and rapid aircraft launches. With a displacement exceeding 80,000 tons, the Fujian offers expanded aircraft capacity, accommodating heavier and more advanced aircraft types.

Media reports indicate that the Fujian is anticipated to be outfitted with an upgraded version of the J-15 heavy fighter jet, tailored for catapult launches, along with an electronic warfare variant of the J-15 and armed reconnaissance drones. In December 2021, China unveiled an upgraded J-15 ship-borne fighter jet, featuring improvements to its missile pylons, infrared search and track system (IRST), AESA radar, and compatibility with a catapult launch system.

Fighter Jets Seen on Chinese Fujian Carrier During Second Sea Trial
China’s Fujian aircraft carrier in April 2024

Furthermore, there are hints of China's endeavors to develop a transport plane based on the KJ-600 for its third aircraft carrier. Reports suggest that China has already developed the KJ-600 early warning aircraft for its third carrier, laying the groundwork for a potential cargo plane derived from the same platform. This development could spawn various special mission variants, including carrier-based fixed-wing anti-submarine warfare aircraft, leveraging the advantages of fixed-wing transport aircraft over transport helicopters in terms of range, speed, and cargo capacity.

In a bid to rival the capabilities of the U.S. Navy's F-35C fighter, China is reportedly working on a new generation carrier-based stealth jet. Experts speculate that this jet might be derived from the FC-31, which is viewed as a competitor to America’s F-35 Lightning II. This speculation gains credence from an unverified photo circulating on social media in June 2021, depicting an FC-31-like model positioned on the “flight deck” of a full-scale mock aircraft carrier at a naval test facility in Hubei Province’s Wuhan.

Fighter Jets Seen on Chinese Fujian Carrier During Second Sea Trial
Upgraded Carrier-Borne J-15 Fighter Jet
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