China’s first aircraft carrier built entirely in its own shipyard left port Sunday to begin sea trials Sunday in a new show of military muscle.
Officials still have not named the 50,000-ton carrier.
“Our country’s second aircraft carrier set sail from its dock in the Dalian shipyard for relevant waters to conduct a sea trial mission, mainly to inspect and verify the reliability and stability of mechanical systems and other equipment,” Reuters quoted the official Xinhua news agency as saying.
Little is known about China’s aircraft program which is a state secret, according to the news wire.
The Liaoning provincial maritime safety bureau issued an order for shipping to avoid a section of ocean southeast of the city between Sunday and Friday.
The official commissioning awaits the completion of sea trials and the arrival of its full air complement. The target date is sometime before 2020.
The new carrier is based on the former Soviet Union’s Kuznetsov class design, with a ski jump-style deck for taking off and a conventional oil-fueled steam turbine power plant.
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.
State media reports say China is also planning to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier capable of remaining at sea for long durations.
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.
The country has used its naval fleet to stake claim to virtually the entire South China Sea and to range farther into the Pacific and Indian oceans.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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