China's first home-grown aircraft carrier launches

Howard TerryMay 14, 2018

The yet-to-be-christened Type 001A carrier left a shipyard at the northeastern port of Dalian at 6.45am, Xinhua said, and sailed out of the port half an hour later.

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.

Expected to be commissioned by 2020, the ship would give China a second aircraft carrier as it asserts its claims in the South China Sea, where Taiwan has virtually identical claims.

Sam Roggeveen, senior fellow at Sydney's Lowy Institute, said: 'This is, in and of itself, not created to be some frontal challenge to United States power in the Asia Pacific, because it simply isn't in the class of America's aircraft carriers'.

The warship is an upgrade to the 'Liaoning, ' China's only operational aircraft carrier, which is a retrofitted Soviet-era Admiral Kuznetsov-class multi-role vessel.

India's INS Vikrant, which was launched in 2013 and is expected to go to sea trial in December 2018, is the country's first self-made aircraft carrier.

The Type 001A provider will displace 55,000 tonnes and utilize traditional propulsion, inning accordance with the defence ministry. Besides India, the US, Russia, the UK, France, Italy, Thailand and China operate a total of 18 aircraft carriers. The new Chinese carrier can neither sale for longer without refueling than the above mentioned US carriers, nor can it carry as many planes.

Prof Tsang added: "But for the rest of China's neighbours, the new carrier based doctrine of the People's Liberation Army is frightening, as none of them can remotely match China's new naval capabilities".

Construction on the latest carrier has been carried out as planned since it was launched in April past year, and equipment debugging, outfitting and mooring tests have been completed to make it ready for the trial mission at sea, the Xinhua reported.

China has developed a new jet fighter called A J-15 fighter to operate from the decks of its carriers.

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.

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