China's 1st domestically built aircraft carrier starts sea trials

China's first entirely home-built aircraft carrier anchored at a port in Dalian Liaoning province on May 9 ahead of sea trials

China's first entirely home-built aircraft carrier anchored at a port in Dalian Liaoning province on May 9 ahead of sea trials

The yet-to-be-christened warship set out at 7am local time from a dock at the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC) shipyard in China's Liaoning Province, according to local media reports.

This May 9, 2018, photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency shows China's aircraft carrier Liaoning at a shipyard in Dalian.

The sea trials will mainly test the reliability and stability of the carrier's power system and other equipment.

China launched the second aircraft carrier in April 2017 after it commissioned the first carrier, the Liaoning, a refitted Soviet Union-made vessel, in 2012.

The new ship will be the second aircraft carrier in the expanding Chinese Navy. Beijing has also been beefing up its presence in the disputed South China Sea, where it has disputes with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

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. Besides India, the US, Russia, the UK, France, Italy, Thailand and China operate a total of 18 aircraft carriers. The US has 11 carriers, all nuclear-powered.

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 Mr Tsang. Little is known about this new commander but unofficial sources indicate that LAI is "very intelligent" and has a "very good level in English".

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

The new carrier has a conventional propulsion system. Like the Liaoning, it will use a ramp to launch J-15 fighter jets. The ship also will carry several types of helicopters.

The vessel has more than 3,600 cabins. In March it sailed through the Taiwan Strait, prompting Taipei to dispatch ships and planes to track the vessel, on the same day that Chinese President Xi Jinping warned against what he called any attempts to split China.

Note that the report from national television channel CCTV-13 revealed the name of the commanding officer of the new aircraft carrier: Rear Admiral LAI Yi Jun (来 奕 军), former commander of the 8th Frigate Flotilla and captain of the 522 Lianyungang frigate (Type 053H3).

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