Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

First Chinese-built aircraft carrier takes to the waves for trials

China's first indigenously built aircraft carrier leaves for sea trials China's first indigenously built aircraft carrier leaves for sea trials
Faye Gross | 14 May, 2018, 04:15

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, which is roughly 315 meters (1,033 ft) in length and 75 meters (246 ft) wide, uses conventional rather than nuclear propulsion and is believed to displace 50,000 tonnes, according to reports in state media.

China has begun testing its first domestically manufactured aircraft carrier at sea, state media said.

But expert analysis of pictures and satellite images of the new China-built vessel reveals it has been altered in subtle ways, possibly allowing it to accommodate up to eight additional aircraft.

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

Now the country only has a retrofitted Soviet-era aircraft carrier called the Liaoning, which was launched in 2012.

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Chinese state media has quoted analysts as saying the carrier is likely to be ready to be combat ready two years after its expected delivery to the navy at the end of this year.

STOBAR-launched aircraft have a more limited operational range and carry lighter payloads than fighter jets launched from so-called Catapult-Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) systems used on U.S. Navy carriers.

"With the Chinese carriers substantially inferior in capacity to the USA super-carriers, the balance of forces between the two navies will only change marginally rather than substantially", he added. China reportedly plans to have four aircraft carriers by 2030 to beef up its navy as it asserts its claims in the Indian Ocean and the disputed South China Sea. The second Chinese aircraft carrier should therefore still carry 36 aircraft, including 24 J-15 fighters.

The new vessel, by comparison, will focus on what a genuine aircraft carrier is supposed to do like conducting combat-ready patrols and safeguarding China's maritime sovereignty and interests, the report said. For example, the new ship's island is shorter and the landing section is longer.

Footage aired by CCTV showed the imposing carrier accompanied by several smaller military craft leaving a wharf and heading out to sea.

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.

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