DALIAN – China’s first domestically-built aircraft carrier set out from a dock of Dalian Shipyard, northeast China’s Liaoning Province, for sea trials Sunday morning.
The aircraft carrier, as yet unnamed, left its berth at a shipyard in the northeastern port of Dalian after a blow of its horn and a display of fireworks, according to reports in state news media.
It is the country’s second aircraft carrier.
The Chinese Navy — officially the People’s Liberation Army Navy — already has one operational carrier, the Liaoning, which it bought unfinished from Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That ship joined the Chinese fleet in 2012 and began its first operations four years later, putting China in the small group of seafaring powers that maintain aircraft carriers, led by the United States, which has 11.
The Liaoning, which appears to serve as a training vessel as much as a combat ship, was the centerpiece of a naval parade of 48 ships attended last month by China’s leader, Xi Jinping. The following week, it led a carrier battle group in live-fire exercises in the Taiwan Strait and in the East China Sea.
Construction on the latest carrier has been carried out as planned since it was launched in April last 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 sea trials will mainly test the reliability and stability of the carrier’s power system and other equipment.