China's first home-built aircraft carrier embarks on first sea trial

China's sole operational aircraft carrier the Liaoning is a repurposed Soviet ship bought from Ukraine

China’s sole operational aircraft carrier the Liaoning is a repurposed Soviet ship bought from Ukraine

China's very first locally produced carrier began sea trials Sunday, state media stated, a landmark in Beijing's enthusiastic strategies to modernise its navy as the Asian huge presses its claims in disputed local waters.

"Our country's second aircraft carrier set sail from its dock in the Dalian shipyard for relevant waters to conduct a sea trial mission, mainly to inspect and verify the reliability and stability of mechanical systems and other equipment", Xinhua said.

The length of the aircraft carrier is 315 meters, beam - 75 meters, displacement - 50 thousand metric tons (70 thousand when fully loaded), operating speed - 31 nautical knots.

Construction of the unnamed carrier was completed in April past year. The new Chinese carrier can neither sale for longer without refueling than the above mentioned USA carriers, nor can it carry as many planes.

China's "Type 001A" aircraft carrier will displace 55,000 tonnes and use conventional rather than nuclear propulsion, according to China's defence ministry.

With the induction of INS Vikrant and "Type 001A", both India and China will have two operational aircraft carriers. The aircraft carrier "Liaoning", created on the basis of the modified cruiser "Varyag" - Soviet production, has become like for Shandong. The first - "Liaoning" - was built in 2012 on the base of the unfinished Soviet aircraft carrier "Varyag", bought from Ukraine in 1998.

The official Xinhua news agency confirmed the ship had left for trials with a short announcement.

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

China has been steadily increasing investment to modernize its military forces, investing approximately US$ 175 billion in 2018, an 8.1 percent increase over 2017.

There was also speculation early last week that President Xi Jinping may oversee the sea trial during his trip to Dalian, where he met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Compared to the rest of the Asia region, Ross said, only Japan can now equal the Chinese navy and even then they probably only had about five years before they too would be surpassed.

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