China's first locally made aircraft carrier starts trials at sea

14 May, 2018, 06:12 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Xinhua News Agency shows China's aircraft carrier Liaoning at a shipyard in Dalian

China's first domestically-built aircraft carrier set out from a dock of Dalian Shipyard, northeast China's Liaoning Province, for sea trials Sunday morning.

China's Defense Ministry said in a statement on its website that the trial aims to demonstrate the "reliability and capability" of the ship's propulsion system, adding that its construction has been "proceeding as planned".

In Hong Kong media claimed that the Chinese Navy a year ago began construction of a third aircraft carrier, equipped with modern catapult for faster take-off aircraft on the basis of the electromagnetic system. By now its outfitting - during which engineers installed and fine-tuned all interior equipment and weapons - has been completed.

China is making clear its intention to accelerate the building of aircraft carriers to step up maritime activities.

Its design was based on China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which was bought from Ukraine and refurbished.

Both Chinese aircraft carriers have similar "ski jump" ramps, and closely resemble Soviet style vessels. The Taiwan Air Force tracked and tailed the intrusive aircraft at exceptionally close range.

Embarrassingly, for the United Kingdom, their new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, sprung a leak during its sea trials in 2017, and required repairs.

The new carrier has a conventional propulsion system. The warship is an improved variant of the PLAN's only operational aircraft carrier, the 60,000-ton Type 001 Liaoning - a retrofitted Soviet-era Admiral Kuznetsov-class multi-role aircraft carrier. 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.

Besides China, seven countries - the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Italy, Thailand and India - operate a total of 18 aircraft carriers.

Zhang Junshe, a researcher with the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said the Chinese Navy needs at least three aircraft carriers.

The Liaoning, which appears to serve as a training vessel as much as a combat ship, was the centerpiece of a naval parade of 48 ships attended last month by China's leader, Xi Jinping.

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