China is expected to launch its next-generation aircraft carrier within a year and construction on a sister ship for the new giant vessel has been hastened, two sources close to the projects said.
The Type 002 aircraft carrier – the country’s third carrier and the second to be domestically developed – has started the final assembly process, two independent sources told the South China Morning Post.
“Assembly of the new aircraft carrier has begun and is expected to be completed in the first half of next year, because the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down progress,” said the first source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
“Workers are also starting the keel-laying for the new carrier’s sister ship. Both ships have been built by the Jiangnan Shipyard outside Shanghai.” Laying the keel is deemed the official start of construction on a new ship.
The second source said initial construction work for the sister Type 002 carrier had started as early as 2018, but it was halted last year for technical reasons.