China's New Aircraft Carrier Heads Out for Sea Trials

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 country's first carrier, the Liaoning, was bought second-hand from Ukraine in 1998, refitted in China, and commissioned in 2012.

Chinese military experts have said that the carrier, China's second and built in the north-eastern port of Dalian, is not expected to enter service until 2020, once it has been fully kitted out and armed.

Now in service with China has two aircraft carriers.

The sea trials could last as long as a year, according to the defence ministry.

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". China's first aircraft carrier - Liaoning - was also a 'Type 001 aircraft carrier. The Type 001A, however, was built from scratch in China.

The new vessel, by comparison, will focus on what a genuine aircraft carrier is supposed to do like conducting combat-ready patrols and safeguarding Chinas maritime sovereignty and interests, the report said.

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We care, we worry, we are desperate, but when you come here, the theatre of dreams we realise what it means. Support them next season, because they deserve it. "Thank you every much", he said.

Once an aircraft carrier passes its sea trials, that doesn't mean it's ready for combat. During the test will be tested on the ability of the power plant, observation systems and radar.

Meanwhile, the PLA has begun work on its third aircraft carrier, according to the South China Morning Post, which is rumored to employ a more advanced launch system different from the ski-jump.

The country has used its naval fleet to stake claim to virtually the entire South China Sea and to range farther into the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Beijing has embarked on an extensive project to build a "blue water" navy and modernise its two million-strong military, the world's largest.

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.

China only has one aircraft carrier (pictured, the ship at its 2007 launch), which is called the Liaoning.

  • Megan Austin