The massive ship was expected to be launched this month, but Shanghai’s lockdown has affected the plans, a Chinese paper reports.
A massive Covid-19 outbreak in Shanghai has stalled the planned launch of China’s third aircraft carrier, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Sunday, citing sources.
According to the publication, the vessel was expected to be ready this month, but the schedule was affected by problems with the supply chain.
“The plan faces delay as the rampant pandemic in Shanghai has delayed the transport of some key components,” an unnamed source told the SCMP, a Hong Kong-based English-language newspaper owned by Alibaba Group.
The source added that “the Shanghai shipyard has been understaffed because almost all local state-owned enterprises need to transfer a certain amount of manpower to help the ongoing anti-pandemic campaign.”
The giant vessel, commonly known as Type 003, has been under construction at the Jiangnan Shipyard on Shanghai’s Changxing Island since 2017. According to the SCMP, the carrier was widely expected to be launched on April 23, which will be the 73rd anniversary of China’s Navy. Chinese media reported last year that the ship was expected to be ready in 2022.
Beijing currently has two carriers – the Liaoning, which was originally built as a Soviet ship, and the Shandong, launched in 2017. Type 003 will be equipped with three electromagnetic catapults, as opposed to ski-jump launch ramps used on older-generation carriers.
The source also told the paper that the Covid-19 outbreak has pushed back the construction of two naval supply ships.
China has been fighting its largest Covid-19 outbreak in two years with a mix of lockdowns and mass testing. Shanghai officials eased some restrictions for residents last week and released guidelines on Saturday for companies to resume work.
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