Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

China launches first domestically-made aircraft carrier

China launches first domestically-made aircraft carrier

China's first domestically built aircraft carrier began sea trials on Sunday, a historic step in the country's mission to build a navy capable of rivaling the world's leading maritime powers.

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.

According to state owned media Xinhuanet, construction began in April of previous year, to make it ready for for its trial mission at sea, equipment debugging, outfitting and mooring tests were completed.

Both Chinese aircraft carriers have similar "ski jump" ramps, and closely resemble Soviet style vessels.

The ship, the largest and most sophisticated naval vessel in China, was designed and built by the nation on its own.

He said the vessel will be better than China's other aircraft carrier, the CNS Liao-ning, when it comes to deploying and supporting fighter jets in combat thanks to designs by Chinese engineers.

The new carrier has a conventional propulsion system. The ship will also carry several types of helicopters.

The new carrier's design draws on experiences from China's first carrier, the Liaoning, bought second-hand from Ukraine in 1998 and refitted in China.

China is in the midst of a military modernization program heavily promoted by President Xi Jinping, who has overseen a shift in focus toward creating a more potent fighting force, including projects such as building the second carrier, integrating stealth fighters into its air force and fielding an array of advanced missiles that can strike air and sea targets from long distances.

But expert analysis of pictures and satellite images of the new China-built vessel reveals it has been altered in subtle ways, possibly allowing it to accommodate up to eight additional aircraft. They said the vessel has more than 3,600 cabins, noting that during construction, there would be at least 3,000 workers from across the country working on the ship each day.

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.

The new carrier gives China more options as it asserts its claims in the disputed South China Sea and seeks to deter any independence movements in Taiwan.

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