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China's first domestically-made aircraft carrier begins sea trials
14 May 2018, 04:18 | Rufus Hill
China's first domestically built aircraft carrier begins maiden sea trial
One of the key differences between Liaoning and the Type 001A is that while the first carrier was meant to be used as a training asset, the new vessel can be used as a front-line combat vessel.
What will be at test is the carrier 's reliability and stability with regards to its power systems.
More than 1,000 feet in length and 246 feet wide, the new ship uses conventional propulsion as opposed to nuclear and recent analysis of satellite images suggests modifications have been made to hold up to eight additional aircraft.
The vessel is the country's second aircraft carrier.
China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan have claims to the South China Sea, while Beijing also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea.
China is in the midst of a military modernization program heavily promoted by President Xi Jinping, who has overseen a shift in focus toward creating a more potent fighting force, including projects such as building the second carrier, integrating stealth fighters into its air force and fielding an array of advanced missiles that can strike air and sea targets from long distances.
China has developed a new jet fighter called A J-15 fighter to operate from the decks of its carriers.
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.
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. By now its outfitting - during which engineers installed and fine-tuned all interior equipment and weapons - has been completed. This new steam propulsion system has been fitted on Type 002.
China has begun testing its first domestically manufactured aircraft carrier at sea, state media said.
Officials of the Navy said, several aspects of the new carrier are different from those on the Liaoning. They said the vessel has more than 3,600 cabins, noting that during construction, there would be at least 3,000 workers from across the country working on the ship each day. The US is the largest operator, with 11 nuclear-powered carriers, each having a full-load displacement of about 100,000 tons.
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