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First carrier designed in China begins sea trial

Staff Writer | May 15, 2018
China's first domestically designed aircraft carrier set out its maiden sea trial on Sunday morning.
China domestic carrier
Defense   50,000 metric tons
The colossal vessel, which displaces 50,000 metric tons, left the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry's shipyard in Liaoning province about 7 am amid thick fog with the assistance of several tugboats before navigating into the sea under its own power.

The People's Liberation Army Navy said in a statement the trial aims to demonstrate the reliability and capability of the ship's propulsion systems, adding its construction has been proceeding well.

Hu Wenming, chairman of China Shipbuilding Industry Corp, parent of Dalian Shipbuilding and chief of the new carrier program, told China Central Television that the new vessel is one of the advanced carriers in the world and its construction has strengthened the country's research and development capability regarding aircraft carriers.

The new carrier's name and hull code remain unknown, as the PLA usually only makes public such information when a ship is commissioned.

According to the Navy, the commander of the new carrier is Senior Captain Lai Yijun. Lai is reported to have been captain of CNS Lianyungang guided-missile frigate, commander of a frigate flotilla and then executive officer of CNS Liaoning aircraft carrier.

The ship, the largest and most sophisticated naval vessel in China, was designed and built by the nation on its own.

Its construction began in November 2013, and work in the dry dock began in March 2015. The carrier was launched — moved into water — in April 2017. By now its outfitting — during which engineers installed and fine-tuned all interior equipment and weapons — has been completed.

The Liaoning was originally a Soviet-era vessel and was extensively refitted at the Dalian shipbuilder. The vessel conducted 10 sea trials starting in August 2011 before going into service in September 2012.

The new carrier has a conventional propulsion system. Like the Liao­ning, it will use a ramp to launch J-15 fighter jets, the spearhead of China's carrier battle group. The ship also will carry several types of helicopters.

The new carrier has more than 12,000 pieces of equipment that were made by 532 Chinese enterprises, including many private firms, according to officials from China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. 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.


 

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