First Chinese-built aircraft carrier takes to the waves for trials

China's sole operational aircraft carrier the Liaoning is a repurposed Soviet ship bought from Ukraine

The warship is an upgrade to the 'Liaoning, ' China's only operational aircraft carrier, which is a retrofitted Soviet-era Admiral Kuznetsov-class multi-role vessel. The first - "Liaoning" - was built in 2012 on the base of the unfinished Soviet aircraft carrier "Varyag", bought from Ukraine in 1998.

The possession of a homegrown aircraft carrier - which the Chinese Ministry of Defense has said displaces 55,000 tonnes - places China among the few military powers with such vessels, including the US, Russia and Britain.

The aircraft carrier, as yet unnamed, left its berth at a shipyard in the northeastern port of Dalian after a blow of its horn and a display of fireworks, according to reports in state news media.

China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan have claims to the South China Sea, while Beijing also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea.

The second Chinese aircraft carrier should be delivered to the PLAN by September 2019 according to Eastpendulum.

The state-run China Daily newspaper reported Sunday that the new ship will do what a carrier "is supposed to do: running combat-ready patrols and safeguarding the nation's maritime sovereignty and interests".

"Aircraft carriers are for power projection and for domination, and this is just the first of several more indigenous carriers". It is safe to assume that the test campaign for this new vessel should not take much longer than Liaoning's. As of this year it fields 11 nuclear-powered carriers with "catapult" technology, in which pistons or electromagnetic rails speed aircraft up as they leave the runway.

Experts have said that the new carrier will have missions that differ from those of the Liaoning, which is mainly tasked with testing equipment and weapons and training personnel. This new steam propulsion system has been fitted on Type 002.

Zhang Junshe, a researcher with the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said the Chinese Navy needs at least three aircraft carriers.

For example, the island of Type 002 is shorter in length than Liaoning's, which gives a slightly larger surface area on the flight deck, but not enough to justify a more substantial allocation of aircraft.

The new carrier's name and hull code remain unknown as the People's Liberation Army Navy usually makes public such information only once a ship is commissioned.

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