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China launches first domestically-made aircraft carrier

14 May 2018

China's second aircraft carrier, known till now only as "Type 001A", set out for the trials this morning, according to official news agency Xinhua, while state broadcaster CCTV said the ship left a port in northeastern China around 6:45 am (2245 GMT Saturday).

What will be at test is the carrier 's reliability and stability with regards to its power systems.

China has the world's largest navy in terms of numbers of ships, although it lags behind the U.S.in technology and combat capabilities.

China's new unnamed home-built aircraft carrier leaves Dalian in northeast China's Liaoning Province for sea trials Sunday, May 13, 2018. The new Chinese carrier can neither sale for longer without refueling than the above mentioned US carriers, nor can it carry as many planes.

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The vessel - temporarily named Type 001A - was sent out for sea trials at 7am today as President Xi Jinping pushes ahead with modernisation in the country's Navy.

The possession of a native aircraft carrier places China among the few military powers with such vessels, including the United States, Russia, Britain and India.

The 50,000-tonne carrier is the first to be wholly built and designed in China, and is set to become the navy's second aircraft carrier by 2020. The country's sole operational carrier, the Kuznetsov-class Liaoning, was originally purchased incomplete from Ukraine in the aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse. Building commenced in November 2013.

Local media say the Chinese-built carrier may be handed over to the military as early as in the latter half of this year.

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The Shandong has been fitted with a so-called ski-jump assisted Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) launch system also installed aboard the Liaoning.

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.

China past year established its first overseas military base in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, and its navy has recently deployed its ships further into the Pacific and Indian oceans.

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China launches first domestically-made aircraft carrier