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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

China launches 1st domestically built aircraft carrier

  • April 26, 2017
  • , Kyodo News
  • English Press

China launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier Wednesday at a shipyard in the northeastern port city of Dalian, state media reported, marking a milestone in the country’s ambitions to produce such vessels itself.

 

The conventionally powered aircraft carrier is expected to enter service around 2020 after conducting sea trials, joining an existing one in China’s fleet, the Russian-made Liaoning, which went into service in 2012 after it was bought from Ukraine and refurbished.

 

The new carrier was transferred from dry dock into the water at a ceremony at China Shipbuilding Industry Corp.’s Dalian shipyard in Liaoning Province, with the attendance of Central Military Commission Vice Chairman Fan Changlong and People’s Liberation Army leaders, according to Xinhua News Agency.

 

“Putting the carrier into water marked progress in China’s efforts to design and build a domestic aircraft carrier,” Xinhua said.

The warship’s external appearance bears a close resemblance to the Liaoning, featuring a “ski-jump” takeoff ramp.

 

With a displacement of 50,000 tons, it is slightly smaller than the 67,000-ton Liaoning. Some Chinese media reports, however, said that the new carrier is designed to be able to carry a total of 36 aircraft — 12 more than the Liaoning.

 

In its annual report in 2016, the U.S. Defense Department said China “could build multiple aircraft carriers over the next 15 years.”

It is believed that China is advancing with a plan to build its next aircraft carrier in Shanghai.

 

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