China has already started work on building a third aircraft carrier, which will be more high-tech than its other two craft, sources close to the People’s Liberation Army told the South China Morning Post.
Work on the new vessel began at a Shanghai-based shipyard last year, the sources said. China’s leaders gave the go-ahead for the project after military leaders met in Beijing following the annual sessions of China’s legislature and top political advisory body in March.
“But the shipyard is still working on the carrier’s hull, which is expected to take about two years,” one source said. “Building the new carrier will be more complicated and challenging than the other two ships.”
China currently has one aircraft carrier in operation-the Liaoning, a repurposed Soviet ship that was bought from Ukraine and went into service in 2012. Its first Chinese-designed carrier, the Type 001A, is expected to go into service in late-2018.