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

14 May, 2018, 06:10 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • 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.

The conventional-fuel-powered vessel is about 300 meters long.

Now in service with China has two aircraft carriers. Both feature Soviet-design ski-jump bows rather than the catapult technology used for launching aircraft on US aircraft carriers.

Naval experts said the Chinese engineers and designers who built the ship had studied the most advanced military technology used by the Americans, as well as the former Soviet Union, and tried to incorporate it into the new ship to meet the practical needs of the PLA Navy.

There was also speculation early last week that President Xi Jinping may oversee the sea trial during his trip to Dalian, where he met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Furthermore, "sea trials will test the carrier's overall seaworthiness including its speed, maneuverability, and equipment such as radar and communications systems, as well as safety features", I noted in April.

Its predecessor was intended more as a training base, but the new ship is likely to be deployed for combat, putting China alongside the United States, the UK, Russia and France in its global capability. Although the type 001A has successfully left the ship yard, plenty of problems can, and most likely will, arise.

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Few countries in the world have aircraft carriers.

With a military budget in 2018 of $175 billion dollars, up 8% on the year before, the Chinese military is pushing ahead rapidly with its modernization drive.

The Shandong's sea trials mark a major milestone in China's blue water navy ambitions and its quest to built a maritime force capable of operating globally.

The ship, temporarily named Type 001A, was floated off in April 2017 after nearly 4 years of construction.

China past year established its first overseas military base in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, and its navy has recently deployed its ships further into the Pacific and Indian oceans.

"If you look at China's acquisitions of facilities in the Indian Ocean and in Eastern Africa, they're quickly developing the capability to maintain a naval presence in distant waters", Ross said.

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