China launches first domestically-made aircraft carrier


The People's Liberation Army Navy's (PLA Navy) first domestically designed and built aircraft carrier, the Type 001A Shandong (CV-17), began its maiden sea trial early Sunday morning, Chinese state media reported.

Reports said China is already building its third aircraft carrier in Shanghai.

The new aircraft carrier's first sea voyage is the latest milestone in China's move to modernize its military, a plan which also includes developing stealth jets and anti-satellite missiles.

Construction of the unnamed carrier was completed in April past year. The ship, when commissioned, will join China's other carrier, the Liaoning - a soviet era vessel procured from Ukraine in 2012 and celebrated as the realization of a "70-year-dream" by the Asian power.

Its predecessor was intended more as a training base, but the new ship is likely to be deployed for combat, putting China alongside the USA, the UK, Russia and France in its global capability.

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

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However, it would still be no match in size or range to the nuclear-powered vessels of the US Navy, which has 11 aircraft carriers.

The new vessel, by comparison, will focus on what a genuine aircraft carrier is supposed to do like conducting combat-ready patrols and safeguarding Chinas maritime sovereignty and interests, the report said. Once it is in service, it will be able to accommodate China's Shenyang J-15 fighter jets.

On the background of strengthening the position of the Chinese Navy, Japan is studying the possibility of construction of the first since the Second world war aircraft carrier.

This gives them an advantage over the Chinese planes, which rely on their own power and the ski-jump designs on both carriers.

The new carrier has more than 12,000 pieces of equipment that were made by 532 Chinese enterprises including many private firms, the report said. About 3,000 workers from across the country worked on the ship on a daily basis. For example, the new ships island is shorter and the landing section is longer.