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Feb 2018: China’s first indigenous aircraft carrier to hold maiden sea trials

CHINA - China’s second aircraft carrier, the Type 001A, is expected to conduct its maiden sea trials in mid-February. The vessel is the country’s first domestically-built carrier and is expected to go into full operational service later this year.

The country’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is a refitted Soviet Union-made carrier that has been used largely as a training ship since it was commissioned in 2012.

The Type 001A is a refined version of the Liaoning, measuring around 315 metres (1,033ft) long with a displacement of about 55,000 tonnes. Although still based on the Soviet-era Kuznetsov class, it boasts improved radar and increased storage capacity for ammunition and fuel, allowing it to carry more aircraft (estimated to be between 30 and 40 jets and helicopters). The ship was launched in Apr 2017.

“China’s first homemade aircraft carrier might conduct its sea trials around Spring Festival in mid-February,” Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, told state-run Global Times.

Meanwhile the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported in Jan 2018 that construction of a third aircraft carrier, equipped with a more advanced launch system, is underway in Shanghai.

Quoting sources close to the People’s Liberation Army, the newspaper reported that China plans to have four aircraft carrier battle groups in service by 2030.

#22487 Published: 01/24/2018

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