China's First Domestically Produced Aircraft Carrier Starts Sea Trials

Marsha Scott
May 14, 2018

China's first domestically built aircraft carrier began its maiden sea trial early Sunday morning, state media reported, putting its home-made power and propulsion systems to the test.

China's first indigenously built aircraft carrier began inaugural sea trials on Sunday, in a display of the Asian giant's growing technological prowess and as it seeks to expand the reach of its navy further into the Pacific. The first - "Liaoning" - was built in 2012 on the base of the unfinished Soviet aircraft carrier "Varyag", bought from Ukraine in 1998.

The 50,000-tonne carrier is the first to be wholly built and designed in China, and is set to become the navy's second aircraft carrier by 2020.

Xinhua news agency released a photograph of the ship a short distance from port, and stated that the seat trials will test the "stability and reliability" of the carrier's power system and equipment.

But China made a decision to built a second STOBAR carrier in the meantime, given the geopolitical tensions.

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.

Like the older ship, it can carry some 40 planes. The new Chinese carrier can neither sale for longer without refueling than the above mentioned USA carriers, nor can it carry as many planes. As of this year it fields 11 nuclear-powered carriers with "catapult" technology, in which pistons or electromagnetic rails speed aircraft up as they leave the runway.

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Chinese state media have quoted experts as saying that the country needs at least six carriers.

Little is known about China's aircraft program which is a state secret, according to the news wire. Once it is in service, it will be able to accommodate China's Shenyang J-15 fighter jets.

The new carrier has a conventional propulsion system.

When commissioned, the yet to be named aircraft carrier will be the second one in the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN's) fleet.

Footage aired by CCTV showed the imposing carrier accompanied by several smaller military craft leaving a wharf and heading out to sea.

The PLA Navy has not officially announced a commissioning date yet for the carrier, although there is some speculation that it will take place in the last quarter of 2018.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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