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China's new aircraft carrier lacks catapult, must stop for refueling

Staff Writer |
China's first self-built aircraft carrier is not competitive with more powerful carriers in the U.S. Navy despite the fanfare over its launch last week.

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According to the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, the Type 001A carrier – sometimes referred to as the Shandong – has the power and capability of a typical carrier built in the '50s.

China's Global Times reported the analysis pointed out the launch is a "great leap forward," but on an international level the carrier is lagging behind others in its class.

The Chinese carrier does not use a catapult to boost planes off the runway, and instead of using nuclear power, it is conventionally powered.

Without a catapult, the carrier lacks the ability to attack enemy ships at sea, according to the report.

As a conventionally powered carrier, the Type 001A faces greater limits to navigation than nuclear-powered U.S. carriers because it would need to be refueled more frequently.

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