China’s first domestically-built aircraft carrier began sea trials on Sunday after setting sail from a dock in the northeastern port city of Dalian, Reuters reports, citing Chinese state media.
“Our country’s second aircraft carrier set sail from its dock in the Dalian shipyard for relevant waters to conduct a sea trial mission, mainly to inspect and verify the reliability and stability of mechanical systems and other equipment,” the official Xinhua news agency was quoted as saying.
The new conventionally powered carrier will be able to operate China’s Shenyang J-15 fighter jets, according to Reuters.
The still-unnamed carrier was launched this time last year but since then has been undergoing fitting of weapons and other systems and has not yet entered service.
The new carrier’s design draws on experiences from the country’s first such vessel, the Liaoning, which was bought second-hand from Ukraine in 1998 and refitted in China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is overseeing an ambitious plan to modernize the armed forces as China ramps up its presence in the disputed South China Sea and around Taiwan.
Chinese military experts have told state media that the new carrier, built at Dalian shipyard, is not expected to enter service until 2020, once it has been fully kitted out and armed, Reuters noted.
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