China launches first domestically-made aircraft carrier

China launches first domestically-made aircraft carrier

The first round of sea trials is expected to primarily test the reliability of the carrier's power and propulsion systems.

The new warship is an upgrade to the Liaoning, China's only operational aircraft carrier, a retrofitted Soviet-era Admiral Kuznetsov-class multi-role vessel.

The vessel has the temporary name Type 001A and set out yesterday from Dalian after President Xi Jinping announced a "world-class" navy under the Chinese Communist Party's regime.

China's sole functional carrier, the Liaoning, is a repurposed Soviet ship purchased from Ukraine, which entered into service in 2012. The new Chinese carrier can neither sale for longer without refueling than the above mentioned US carriers, nor can it carry as many planes.

The colossal vessel, which displaces 50,000 metric tons, left the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry's shipyard in Liaoning province about 7 am amid thick fog with the assistance of several tugboats before navigating into the sea under its own power.

Testing combat ship project 001A held in Dalian.

There was also some speculation that carrier's sea trials would coincide with the annual Spring Festival or Chinese New Year in mid-February.

More news: Trump pledges to help Chinese phone maker that was hurt by sanctions

Although China is far from catching up with the USA, its military budget this year rose by eight per cent as the military pushes for modernisation.

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 ship, temporarily named Type 001A, was floated off in April 2017 after nearly 4 years of construction.

China has made no secret of its desire to build a modern, "blue-water" navy which could operate around the world.

China is fortifying islands in the region with facilities that could host military aircraft, creating what some experts have called "unsinkable aircraft carriers".

China vigorously develops the program for naval armaments and reinforces the group in the Pacific region.

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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