China's 1st domestically built aircraft carrier starts sea trials

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

The trials are meant to test the reliability and stability of its power system, Xinhua said.

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'.

Construction of the unnamed carrier was completed in April previous year.

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

The new aircraft carrier has an inclined ramp and can accommodate more aircraft than its predecessor.

Few countries in the world have aircraft carriers.

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Beijing and New Delhi have embarked on an extensive project to build a "blue water" navy and modernise its over million-strong militaries. Besides India, the US, Russia, the UK, France, Italy, Thailand and China operate a total of 18 aircraft carriers. The US has 11 carriers, all nuclear-powered.

Local media say the Chinese-built carrier may be handed over to the military as early as in the latter half of this year.

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. Chinese media reported that up to 36 Shenyang J-15 fighters can be based aboard.

The aircraft carrier, which has been under construction since November 2013, was expected to enter service around 2020, but the People's Daily quoted an expert last month saying that it may be handed over to the navy as early as this year. The ship's chief engineering commander, Hu Wenming, told the broadcaster the carrier was smaller than USA carriers' Nimitz class.

The new carrier has more than 12,000 pieces of equipment that were made by 532 Chinese enterprises including many private firms, the report said. The PLA Navy has not officially announced a commissioning date yet for the carrier, although there is some speculation that it will take place in the last quarter of 2018. For example, the new ships island is shorter and the landing section is longer.

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