China's first locally made aircraft carrier starts trials at sea

China's first locally made aircraft carrier starts trials at sea

China's first locally made aircraft carrier starts trials at sea

The warship is an upgrade to the 'Liaoning, ' China's only operational aircraft carrier, which is a retrofitted Soviet-era Admiral Kuznetsov-class multi-role vessel.

Analysts say China plans to enhance its maritime strength with at least 4 aircraft carriers, including a nuclear-powered model.

Military observers have been watching for signs the new aircraft carrier was about to start sea trials after photos of it being moved from its berth by tugboats were published by state media on April 23.

India's INS Vikrant, which was launched in 2013 and is expected to go to sea trial in December 2018, is the country's first self-made aircraft carrier. However, despite these efforts, they would still be no match in size or range to the nuclear-powered vessels of the United States Navy, which has 11 carriers.

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

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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 length of the aircraft carrier is 315 meters, beam - 75 meters, displacement - 50 thousand metric tons (70 thousand when fully loaded), operating speed - 31 nautical knots.

Construction of the unnamed carrier was completed in April previous year. Besides India, the US, Russia, the UK, France, Italy, Thailand and China operate a total of 18 aircraft carriers. The ship will also carry several types of helicopters.

On the background of strengthening the position of the Chinese Navy, Japan is studying the possibility of construction of the first since the Second world war aircraft carrier.

Since taking office, Xi has driven an ambitious effort to modernise the country's military, reducing the traditional focus on readying the ground forces of the People's Liberation Army to defend against an invasion of the mainland and increasing the emphasis on technology-dependent naval, air and missile forces. It's the latest development in Beijing's mission to modernize its military.

Last week U.S. intelligence suggested there is a high probability that the Chinese fired missiles to three artificial islands in military drills.

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