China's new aircraft carrier begins sea trials near Dalian

China's new aircraft carrier begins sea trials near Dalian

The vessel will become the countrys second aircraft carrier, and the first to be entirely built and designed inside of China, when it joins the navy sometime before 2020.

Reports said China is already building its third aircraft carrier in Shanghai.

China only has one aircraft carrier (pictured, the ship at its 2007 launch), which is called the Liaoning. The country reportedly plans to have four aircraft carriers by 2030 to operate from the disputed South China Sea as well as the Indian Ocean.

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However it would still be no match in size or variety to the nuclear-powered vessels of the United States Navy, which has 11 providers.

Embarrassingly, for the United Kingdom, their new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, sprung a leak during its sea trials in 2017, and required repairs. 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. Besides India, the US, Russia, the UK, France, Italy, Thailand and China operate a total of 18 aircraft carriers.

Construction on the latest carrier has been carried out as planned since it was launched in April previous year, and equipment debugging, outfitting and mooring tests have been completed to make it ready for the trial mission at sea, the Xinhua reported. The ship's chief engineering commander, Hu Wenming, told the broadcaster the carrier was smaller than USA carriers' Nimitz class.

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The second aircraft carriers name and hull code remain unknown as the PLA Navy usually makes public such information when a ship is commissioned.

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.

And the US Navy's newest warship - the USS Gerald R Ford - has been blighted by glitches despite it being the world's most expensive at $13 billion. It's the latest development in Beijing's mission to modernize its military.

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