CHINA has declared it is building a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier of a size to rival the biggest in United States naval service in the first move of a major new arms race.
Chinese website qianzhan.com cites “top People’s Liberation Army” sources as saying the 110,000-ton aircraft carrier should be launched by 2020.
“By that time, China will be able to confront the most advanced US carrier-based fighter jets in high sea,” the Chinese-language article reads.
The news follows rising tensions in the South and East China Seas where the most recent incident involved a near-collision with a US cruiser shadowing China’s first aircraft carrier, the refurbished Liaoning which was purchased from Ukraine.
China’s first homegrown aircraft carrier will be a larger version of Liaoning. The first of two such vessels is due to hit the water in 2015.
The design is reportedly based on drawings from the former Soviet Union of a nuclear-powered, 80,000 ton vessel capable of carrying 60 aircraft.
“Despite their lack of experience, Chinese scientific research personnel have the ambition to overcome various difficulties to master lots of new technologies and techniques in building China’s own powerful aircraft carrier,” the article reads.