China began sea trials of the aircraft carrier, own production

Erika Holt
May 13, 2018

The massive 50,000-metric-ton carrier, known only as the "Type 001A", left a shipyard in Dalian, in northeast China's Liaoning province, on Sunday morning at around 6:45 a.m. local time amid thick fog and with assistance from several tugboats, before navigating out to sea under its own power, state-run media said.

The trials are meant to test the reliability and stability of its power system, Xinhua said. During the test will be tested on the ability of the power plant, observation systems and radar.

The aircraft carrier, which has been under construction since November 2013, was expected to enter service around 2020, but the People's Daily quoted an expert last month saying that it may be handed over to the navy as early as this 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.

The new carrier will be capable of transporting about 40 aircraft, and is reportedly modeled on the first, and now only Chinese aircraft carrier in active service, the Liaoning, a re-purposed Soviet aircraft carrier, put into service in 2012.

In fact, the USS Gerald R Ford, the United States' newest carrier and at $13 billion, the most expensive warship ever built, has a host of problems.

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However, even with the potential development of further carriers, it could still be years before China's navy is able to deploy its fleet effectively, said Tsang.

Beijing and New Delhi have embarked on an extensive project to build a "blue water" navy and modernise its over million-strong militaries.

The Liaoning has conducted a series of manoeuvres with dozens of other ships, submarines and aircraft in the South China Sea in recent weeks.

This comes on the back of a speech given on April 12 by Chinese President Xi Jinping announcing the Chinese Communist Party planned on building a "world-class" navy.

The US, meanwhile, regularly conducts "freedom of navigation" naval operations near artificial islands in the South China Sea to challenges Beijing's claims.

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