China's New Aircraft Carrier Heads Out for Sea Trials

China's first entirely home-built aircraft carrier anchored at a port in Dalian Liaoning province on May 9 ahead of sea trials

China has taken a historic step in its bid to build a navy that rivals the world's finest by sending the country's first domestically built aircraft out for sea trials.

Speaking to CNN of this morning's sea trials, Sam Roggeveen, senior fellow at Sydney's Lowy Institute said: "This is, in and of itself, not created to be some frontal challenge to US power in the Asia Pacific, because it simply isn't in the class of America's aircraft carriers". The first - "Liaoning" - was built in 2012 on the base of the unfinished Soviet aircraft carrier "Varyag", bought from Ukraine in 1998.

He said the vessel will be better than China's other aircraft carrier, the CNS Liao-ning, when it comes to deploying and supporting fighter jets in combat thanks to designs by Chinese engineers.

The new aircraft carrier, temporarily named Type 001A, sailed out at around 7 am in Dalian, in the northeast province of Liaoning, according to reports in Chinese state media.

Sam Roggeveen, senior fellow at Sydney's Lowy Institute, said: 'This is, in and of itself, not created to be some frontal challenge to U.S. power in the Asia Pacific, because it simply isn't in the class of America's aircraft carriers'. 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.

Like the older ship, it can carry some 40 planes. This new steam propulsion system has been fitted on Type 002.

The new conventionally-powered carrier will be able to operate Shenyang J-15 fighter jets. As of this year it fields 11 nuclear-powered carriers with "catapult" technology, in which pistons or electromagnetic rails speed aircraft up as they leave the runway.

The photos and videos released this morning also allow us to see that the anti-frogman grenade launching system of the second Chinese aircraft carrier has evolved from eight tubes to twelve tubes per system.

Little is known about China's aircraft program which is a state secret, according to the news wire.

The vessel has more than 3,600 cabins.

Officials of the Navy said, several aspects of the new carrier are different from those on the Liaoning.

The second aircraft carrier's name and hull code remain unknown as the PLA Navy usually makes public such information when a ship is commissioned. For example, the new ship's island is shorter and the landing section is longer.

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