Here"s what we know.While among the joined States’ plane carriers, the USS Theodore Roosevelt is handling a corona virus outbreak that has actually now become deadly, among China’s plane carriers sailed past Taiwan in a show of force. Though Taiwan scrambled jet to intercept and monitor the sail-by, the was maybe not the best moment because that the U.S. Navy.

You are watching: How many aircraft carriers does the china have

China currently has two carriers and a third in the shipyard, through a fourth planned. But what is the Chinese aircraft carrier regimen like? right here is China’s carrier fleet.


Yesterday’s Carriers, in usage Today

China currently has two aircraft carriers, v a 3rd in beforehand construction, and also a 4th planned for at some time in the mid 2020 or 2030s. Their very first carrier, the Liaoning was i was delegated by the plan in 2012, despite it was first laid down in the at an early stage 1990s. It to be an loose Ukrainian carrier, inherited indigenous the Soviet Union, which was then offered to China.

China’s 2nd carrier, the kind 002, was essentially a copy of the Liaoning, despite it did feature some incremental improvements including upgraded radar, and increased fighter capacity. Prefer the Liaoning, it attributes a large ski jump above the bow that helps start jet fighters right into the air.

Type 003

The form 003 will certainly be bigger than both the form 002 and also the Liaoning, and have a steam catapult launch aid system comparable to what the joined States offers on plane carriers—and for this reason will likely dispense with the ski-jump bow launch help platform.

In one interview v The nationwide Interest, an expert on China’s navy abilities stated that “the third carrier will certainly be an effort at…steam catapults and hydraulic arresting equipment that will enable China come launch aircraft through heavier bomb loads and also go much longer ranges.”

Another skilled concurred, saying that “It will likewise likely be larger than the type 001 or the Liaoning, enabling it come carry much more aircraft. The PLAN also wants to expand the variety of their carrier-based aircraft, and more importantly, they require to have the ability to launch early warning and also electronic warfare aircraft and also larger fighter-bombers that can carry more weapons. They require catapults and also arresting equipment to deploy these type of aircraft.” So much more fighters, and much better armed.

Type 004

The kind 004 would certainly be the most progressed of China’s plane carriers as soon as completed and would be taken into consideration a third-generation plane carrier. In enhancement to electro-magnetic start capabilities, the type 004 would be the first aircraft transport in China’s navy the would use nuclear propulsion. The would additionally have sufficient power output to strength railgun or laser tools that are currently in advancement and testing.

China supposedly spent end $3 exchange rate researching a unique molten salt nuclear reactor that might be offered to propel the type 004. That purportedly generates more heat, which have the right to be convert to electricity, and creates only a fraction of the radiation together uranium-powered reactors.

The an initial hull is expected in the so late 2020s or probably later, despite details about the People’s Liberation army Navy room notoriously challenging to come by.

Tomorrow’s plane Carriers…Tomorrow?

China absolutely still has actually a long way to go. Two aircraft carriers the are based on 1980s an innovation are in no way close come as qualified as modern nuclear-powered carriers. Still, China has progressed in leaps and bounds. If the kind 003 and type 004 have the right to put their money whereby their mouth is—if they space as capable as projected through western experts and as declared by the Chinese—then they would certainly be a pressure to be reckoned with.

See more: How Long Does It Take Nose Piercing To Heal Quickly And Safely

Caleb Larson is a Defense Writer with The nationwide Interest. That holds a understand of windy Policy and covers U.S. And Russian security, europe defense issues, and German politics and culture.