China's very first locally produced carrier began sea trials Sunday, state media stated, a landmark in Beijing's enthusiastic strategies to modernise its navy as the Asian huge presses its claims in disputed local waters.
The Xinhua news agency reports that the new aircraft carrier set sail for the trials from a port in the northeastern city of Dalian, Liaoning Province, on Sunday.
The first round of sea trials is expected to primarily test the reliability of the carrier's power and propulsion systems.
One of the key differences between Liaoning and the Type 001A is that while the first carrier was meant to be used as a training asset, the new vessel can be used as a front-line combat vessel.
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.
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State media reports say China is also planning to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier capable of remaining at sea for long durations.
In Hong Kong media claimed that the Chinese Navy past year began construction of a third aircraft carrier, equipped with modern catapult for faster take-off aircraft on the basis of the electromagnetic system.
Now the country only has a retrofitted Soviet-era aircraft carrier called the Liaoning, which was launched in 2012. Building commenced in November 2013. The length of the aircraft carrier is 315 meters, beam - 75 meters, displacement - 50 thousand metric tons (70 thousand when fully loaded), operating speed - 31 nautical knots. China past year established its first overseas military base in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti, where rivals such as the U.S., Japan and several European nations also have a permanent presence.
This gives them an advantage over the Chinese planes, which rely on their own power and the ski-jump designs on both carriers.
Although China's 2-million strong military is the largest in the world and its navy is also the biggest in terms of numbers of ships, its defense budget in 2018, though raised, is still only about one-quarter that of the United States.