China's first domestically developed aircraft carrier has left for its sea trials on Sunday, the country's official media announced here.
China's first aircraft carrier - Liaoning - was also a 'Type 001 aircraft carrier. The trials are meant to test the reliability and stability of its power system, Xinhua said.
Construction on the carrier has been carried out as planned since it was launched in April a year ago, and equipment debugging, outfitting and mooring tests have been completed to make it ready for the trial mission at sea, the sources said.
One of the key differences between Liaoning and the Type 001A is that while the first carrier was meant to be used as a training asset, the new vessel can be used as a front-line combat vessel. The country's sole operational carrier, the Kuznetsov-class Liaoning, was originally purchased incomplete from Ukraine in the aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse.
Sunday morning began in China with state broadcaster CCTV relaying footage of the vessel embarking into the blue on a rather gray day.
Neither of the two vessels is nuclear-powered; instead, they use conventional oil-fueled steam turbine power plants for propulsion. Like the older ship, it can carry some 40 planes.More news: Lewis Hamilton suggests Ferrari sandbagging in Spanish GP practice
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Expected to be commissioned by 2020, the ship will give China a second aircraft carrier to boost its navy as it asserts its claims in the disputed South China Sea and seeks to deter any independence movements in Taiwan.
Alluding to recent Chinese shows of force toward Taiwan, Michael Kovrig, senior adviser for North East Asia at the International Crisis Group, poured more insight on the development saying: "It's raising the cost of an intervention, particularly by the USA, in any conflict off China's coast".
The new aircraft carrier has an inclined ramp and can accommodate more aircraft than its predecessor.
Embarrassingly, for the United Kingdom, their new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, sprung a leak during its sea trials in 2017, and required repairs.
The Chinese Navy started sea trials of aircraft carrier of its own production of the Type 001A, Xinhua reported.