China’s new aircraft carrier lacks catapult, must stop for refueling

May 2 (UPI) — China’s first self-built aircraft carrier is not competitive with more powerful carriers in the U.S. Navy despite the fanfare over its launch last week.

According to the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, the Type 001A carrier – sometimes referred to as the Shandong – has the power and capability of a typical carrier built in the ’50s.

China’s Global Times reported the analysis pointed out the launch is a “great leap forward,” but on an international level the carrier is lagging behind others in its class.

The Chinese carrier does not use a catapult to boost planes off the runway, and instead of using nuclear power, it is conventionally powered.

Without a catapult, the carrier lacks the ability to attack enemy ships at sea, according to the report.

Those are some of the technological limitations of the Type 001A that places the carrier in the parameters of weapons developed six decades ago, according to the analysis.

As a conventionally powered carrier, the Type 001A faces greater limits to navigation than nuclear-powered U.S. carriers because it would need to be refueled more frequently.

China also developed the carrier out of necessity, according to the Institute that goes by the acronym IRIS.

Beijing has territorial disputes with neighboring countries in the South and East China Seas and it continues to militarize the Spratly Islands.

Analysts in China have warned Beijing against starting a rivalry at sea with a more powerful U.S. Navy.


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