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China's first indigenously built aircraft carrier leaves for sea trials

14 May 2018

China's first entirely home-built aircraft carrier began sea trials Sunday in a sign of the growing sophistication of the country's domestic arms industry.

The provider, understood just as "Type 001A", set out for the trials from a port in northeastern China at around 6.45 am (2245 GMT Saturday), inning accordance with state broadcaster CCTV.

The sea trials will test the reliability and stability of the vessel's power system and other equipment, according to sources cited by Xinhua.

The 70,000-tonne Type 001A was launched in April last year and is expected to join the navy as early as the end of this year, well before the original target of 2019.

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China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, arrived as a mostly empty hull from Ukraine and was commissioned in 2012 along with its flight wing of Chinese J-15 fighter jets.

Sam Roggeveen, senior fellow at Sydney's Lowy Institute, said: 'This is, in and of itself, not created to be some frontal challenge to U.S. power in the Asia Pacific, because it simply isn't in the class of America's aircraft carriers'.

In addition, the carrier is first built on their own.

The new carrier will be capable of transporting about 40 aircraft, and is reportedly modeled on the first, and now only Chinese aircraft carrier in active service, the Liaoning, a re-purposed Soviet aircraft carrier, put into service in 2012.

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With the induction of INS Vikrant and "Type 001A", both India and China will have two operational aircraft carriers. Besides India, the US, Russia, the UK, France, Italy, Thailand and China operate a total of 18 aircraft carriers.

Some reports said China is also planning to build a nuclear aircraft carrier.

The aircraft carrier, which has been under construction since November 2013, was expected to enter service around 2020, but the People's Daily quoted an expert last month saying that it may be handed over to the navy as early as this year. The ship will also carry several types of helicopters.

China has been steadily increasing investment to modernize its military forces, investing approximately US$ 175 billion in 2018, an 8.1 percent increase over 2017.

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China's first indigenously built aircraft carrier leaves for sea trials