As China's second aircraft carrier, and the country's first domestically built carrier, approaches its launch, experts predict that the third China-made carrier will see dramatic breakthroughs, such as the use of nuclear power and the capability for an electromagnetic launch.
Military expert Xu Guangyu made this forecast during an interview with BTV.
"The first domestically built carrier is likely to be like the Liaoning [China's first aircraft carrier]. It will be conventionally powered and use a ski-jump take-off, whereas the second one is likely to use a catapult take-off ... The third one, however, will benefit from major breakthroughs, and may even be nuclear-powered," Xu said.
According to Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian at a briefing on March 30, the first domestically built carrier is being outfitted with equipment, and work on it is progressing smoothly.
Military experts have agreed that the independent design and manufacturing of the carrier signifies remarkable progress in China's national defense industry. While it is not the most advanced carrier in the world, it satisfies the demands of China's national condition.
"The development of Chinese aircraft carriers is a slow but steady process. From platform construction to personnel training, it's all gradual," Xu said.