China launches first domestically-made aircraft carrier
14 May, 2018, 00:36 | Author: Kristen Ingram
China's state media says the country's first domestically-built aircraft carrier has started sea performance tests.
In this photo provided by China's Xinhua News Agency, China's aircraft carrier leaves Dalian in northeast China's Liaoning Province for sea trials Sunday, May 13, 2018.
The still-unnamed ship left dock in the northern port of Dalian at 7 a.m.to "test the reliability and stability of its propulsion and other system", the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
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. According to state owned media Xinhuanet, construction began in April of a year ago, to make it ready for for its trial mission at sea, equipment debugging, outfitting and mooring tests were completed. The first - "Liaoning" - was built in 2012 on the base of the unfinished Soviet aircraft carrier "Varyag", bought from Ukraine in 1998. The vessel's target date is 2019, according to the South China Morning Post.
The Type 001A carrier, which has yet to be named, is expected to be commissioned by 2020. STOBAR-launched aircraft have a more limited operational range and carry lighter payloads than fighter jets launched from so-called Catapult-Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) systems used on U.S. Navy carriers.
The trials, along with the broader military build-up, follow the course of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who stated this April that the necessity to have a powerful navy "has never been as urgent as it is today".
Alluding to recent Chinese shows of force toward Taiwan, Michael Kovrig, senior adviser for North East Asia at the International Crisis Group, poured more insight on the development saying: "It's raising the cost of an intervention, particularly by the USA, in any conflict off China's coast".
Chinese experts have said that the missions for the new carrier will be different from those for the Liaoning, which is mainly tasked with testing equipment and weapons as well as training personnel.
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