First China-made aircraft carrier starts sea trials

Lester Mason
May 13, 2018

BEIJING-China's first domestically produced aircraft carrier began sea trials Sunday, the latest step forward in the country's quest to advance its military footprint.

The provider, understood just as "Type 001A", set out for the trials from a port in northeastern China at around 6.45 am (2245 GMT Saturday), inning accordance with state broadcaster CCTV. The trials are meant to test the reliability and stability of its power system, Xinhua said.

The carrier was launched - moved into the water - in April a year ago, the China Daily reported.

One of the key differences between Liaoning and the Type 001A is that while the first carrier was meant to be used as a training asset, the new vessel can be used as a front-line combat vessel.

The new carrier gives China more options as it asserts its claims in the disputed South China Sea and seeks to deter any independence movements in Taiwan.

China's navy has been taking an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with its first aircraft carrier, expected to serve more as a training vessel, sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and new Chinese warships popping up in far-flung places.

The new conventionally powered carrier will be able to operate China's Shenyang J-15 fighter jets.

They lack the powerful catapult technology for launching aircraft that US carriers have.

Although China's 2-million strong military is the largest in the world and its navy is also the biggest in terms of numbers of ships, its defense budget in 2018, though raised, is still only about one-quarter that of the United States.

State media has quoted experts as saying that the country needs at least six carriers.

The second aircraft carrier's name and hull code remain unknown as the PLA Navy usually makes public such information when a ship is commissioned.

It is the very first time the provider's engine, propulsion and navigation systems will be evaluated at sea, state media stated, a year after the vessel initially required to the water at its main launch. The ship will also carry several types of helicopters. However, a source close to the navy said it was "too early to estimate" when the new ship would be combat-ready. For example, the new ship's island is shorter and the landing section is longer.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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