Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
World News | By Joan Terry

China's aircraft carrier begins sea trials

China's aircraft carrier begins sea trials

The first - "Liaoning" - was built in 2012 on the base of the unfinished Soviet aircraft carrier "Varyag", bought from Ukraine in 1998.

A third aircraft carrier is being built in Shanghai, according to state media, although the Defense Ministry has yet to confirm this.

China's new unnamed home-built aircraft carrier leaves Dalian in northeast China's Liaoning Province for sea trials Sunday, May 13, 2018.

Now the country only has a retrofitted Soviet-era aircraft carrier called the Liaoning, which was launched in 2012. 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.

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

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

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

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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.

On the background of strengthening the position of the Chinese Navy, Japan is studying the possibility of construction of the first since the Second world war aircraft carrier. The ship's chief engineering commander, Hu Wenming, told the broadcaster the carrier was smaller than US carriers' Nimitz class.

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.

The CNN report also pointed out that the vessel passing its sea trials, does not necessarily mean it is combat-ready.

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

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.

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