Hull for China’s 3rd aircraft carrier may be finished in 12 months, satellite PHOTOS of shipyard indicate

The shipyard is located on Changxing Island at the mouth of the Yangtze River, and has been involved in building several larger warships for the Chinese Navy, including the Type 002, Beijing’s first domestically-built aircraft carrier. Its successor, the larger Type 003, is currently under construction there as well. Images provided to Reuters by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) indicate that the new ship’s hull may be completed within 12 months.

The assessment is based on the rapid expansion at the southernmost part of the site, which includes new fabrication and assembly facilities, and a new large basin under construction. There are also pre-fabricated ship components stored on the site and ready to be assembled.

“We can see slow but steady progress on the hull, but I think the really surprising thing these images show is the extensive infrastructure buildup that has gone on simultaneously,” CSIS analyst Matthew Funaiole said, adding that the scale of the build-up exceeds what is necessary for just one ship.

This looks more like a specialized space for carriers and/or other larger vessels.

China’s rapid progress in deploying new types of large ships was highlighted earlier in September by the launch of its first modern amphibious assault vessel, the Type 075 helicopter carrier.

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