China readying new catapult for 3rd aircraft carrier: experts

Global Times
Huang Panyue

China is likely to use an electromagnetic catapult for fighter jets on its third aircraft carrier, experts said on Thursday.

The world's leading electromagnetic catapult technology was developed by a team led by Ma Weiming, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a Beijing-based expert, who asked for anonymity, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The technology will likely be used on China's third aircraft carrier - and second domestically made carrier - to revitalize the army through science and technology, he said.

The expert also said that the Central Military Commission has sent signals to adopt scientific achievements to enhance the military's combat capabilities and narrow the gap between China and other powers.

Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, told the Global Times that security is the main concern for those who prefer steam-driven to electromagnetic catapults.

Globally, carriers launch aircraft via three basic methods: steam-driven catapult, electromagnetic catapult or ski jump.

China's first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, adopted the ski jump approach. Ten of 11 US aircraft carriers use steam catapults.

The USS Gerald R Ford is the only aircraft carrier that uses an electromagnetic catapult, experts said. The new catapult is believed to be more efficient and less damaging to planes.

Ma told media his team had conducted successful tests on the technology and are confident about its practical use.

As China has overcome the core technological problems of electromagnetic catapults, the technological advantage should be used to enhance combat capability, Li said.


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