China's New Aircraft Carrier Heads Out for Sea Trials
China's New Aircraft Carrier Heads Out for Sea Trials
Xinhua News Agency shows China's aircraft carrier Liaoning at a shipyard in Dalian
14 May, 2018, 06:13
China's first domestically designed aircraft carrier set out its maiden sea trial on Sunday morning, indicating it might not be long before it is delivered to the Chinese Navy.
It is the first time the ship's engine, propulsion and navigation systems would be tested at sea, a year after it first took to the water at its official launch, state media said.
In Hong Kong media claimed that the Chinese Navy previous year began construction of a third aircraft carrier, equipped with modern catapult for faster take-off aircraft on the basis of the electromagnetic system.
It has finished the outfitting process, where engineers installed and fine-tuned all of the ship's interior equipment and weapons, the report said.
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.
With a displacement of 50,000 tons, the new vessel is smaller than the 67,000-ton Liaoning, while both feature a "ski-jump" takeoff ramp.
China has developed a new jet fighter called A J-15 fighter to operate from the decks of its carriers.
AFP reports that a third air-craft carrier is widely speculated to be in the early phase of construction, but that Beijing has yet to confirm such reports.
The new carrier has a conventional propulsion system. Like the older ship, it can carry some 40 planes.
The vessel has more than 3,600 cabins.
Hu Wenming is General Director of China's first homemade aircraft carrier project, and said his team members' average age is only 36.
The country has used its naval fleet to stake claim to virtually the entire South China Sea and to range farther into the Pacific and Indian oceans.
Sam Roggeveen, senior fellow at Sydney's Lowy Institute, said: 'This is, in and of itself, not created to be some frontal challenge to USA power in the Asia Pacific, because it simply isn't in the class of America's aircraft carriers'.
Chinese state media have actually been hypothesizing that a 3rd home-made warship remained in the works, however the defence ministry has yet to validate this.
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