Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Chinas first home-built aircraft carrier begins sea trials

Chinas first home-built aircraft carrier begins sea trials

China's first domestically built aircraft carrier was set out for its first sea trials Sunday, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

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.

The sea trials will mainly test the reliability and stability of the carrier's power system and other equipment.

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

The Type 001A provider will displace 55,000 tonnes and utilize traditional propulsion, inning accordance with the defence ministry. However, despite these efforts, they would still be no match in size or range to the nuclear-powered vessels of the United States Navy, which has 11 carriers.

China is making clear its intention to accelerate the building of aircraft carriers to step up maritime activities.

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

The new carrier has a conventional propulsion system. However, a source close to the navy said it was "too early to estimate" when the new ship would be combat-ready.

Those deficiencies "make the ship more vulnerable to attack, or create limitations during routine operations", the report said.

Since taking office, Xi has driven an ambitious effort to modernise the country's military, reducing the traditional focus on readying the ground forces of the People's Liberation Army to defend against an invasion of the mainland and increasing the emphasis on technology-dependent naval, air and missile forces.

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

China vigorously develops the program for naval armaments and reinforces the group in the Pacific region.

Still, the main focus of the PLA Navy in the near future is expected to be dominating the waters around the Chinese mainland, including the South China Sea.

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