First China-made aircraft carrier starts sea trials: state media

China's first indigenously built aircraft carrier leaves for sea trials

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

China has begun testing its first domestically manufactured aircraft carrier at sea, state media said.

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

A third aircraft carrier is being built in Shanghai, according to state media, although the Defense Ministry has yet to confirm this.

China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan have claims to the South China Sea, while Beijing also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea.

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.

Few countries in the world have aircraft carriers. This new steam propulsion system has been fitted on Type 002.

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The colossal vessel, which displaces 50,000 metric tons, left the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry's shipyard in Liaoning province about 7 am amid thick fog with the assistance of several tugboats before navigating into the sea under its own power.

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

Chinese state media has quoted analysts as saying the carrier is likely to be ready to be combat ready two years after its expected delivery to the navy at the end of this year.

The Shandong will be able to carry up to 24 Shenyang J-15 multirole fighter jets, a variant of the fourth-generation Sukhoi Su-33 twin-engines air superiority fighter, as well as around ten rotary wing aircraft including Changshe Z-18, Ka-31, or Harbin Z-9 helicopters. For example, the new ship's island is shorter and the landing section is longer.

The new vessel, by comparison, will focus on what a genuine aircraft carrier is supposed to do like conducting combat-ready patrols and safeguarding China's maritime sovereignty and interests, the report said.

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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