China's First Home-Built Aircraft Carrier Begins Sea Trials Off Liaoning

China's First Home-Built Aircraft Carrier Begins Sea Trials Off Liaoning

The first entirely Chinese-built aircraft carrier is set to start full-scale trials, leaving the port of Dalian at 7:00 a.m. local time this Sunday, according to reports from the Chinese Defense Ministry. But it would still be no match in size or range to the nuclear powered vessels of the US Navy, which has 11 carriers.

It is China's second aircraft carrier following the purchase of the Soviet-built Liaoning from Ukraine in 1998.

This May 9, 2018, photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency shows China's aircraft carrier Liaoning at a shipyard in Dalian. Besides India, the US, Russia, the UK, France, Italy, Thailand and China operate a total of 18 aircraft carriers.

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. China's first aircraft carrier - Liaoning - was also a 'Type 001 aircraft carrier.

The new carrier is based on the former Soviet Union's Kuznetsov class design, with a ski jump-style deck for taking off and a conventional oil-fueled steam turbine power plant.

The Type 001A carrier, which has yet to be named, is expected to be commissioned by 2020.

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.

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And the US Navy's newest warship - the USS Gerald R Ford - has been blighted by glitches despite it being the world's most expensive at $13 billion.

Embarrassingly, for the United Kingdom, their new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, sprung a leak during its sea trials in 2017, and required repairs.

Although China is far from catching up with the U.S., its military budget this year rose by eight per cent as the military pushes for modernisation.

Sunday morning began in China with state broadcaster CCTV relaying footage of the vessel embarking into the blue on a rather gray day.

China and India have been seen to rapidly modernise their militaries, especially the navy, which both countries believe will play a crucial role in the Indian-ocean and Indo-Pacific regions.

American sea power is expected to continue dominating over the next 10 years, but China is fast developing capabilities to maintain presence in distant waters.

China is fortifying islands in the region with facilities that could host military aircraft, creating what some experts have called "unsinkable aircraft carriers". However, a source close to the navy said it was "too early to estimate" when it would be combat ready.

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