China's state media says the country's first domestically-built aircraft carrier has started sea performance tests.
China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, arrived as a mostly empty hull from Ukraine and was commissioned in 2012 along with its flight wing of Chinese J-15 fighter jets.
The trials are believed to be for testing the engine and radar systems as well as other equipment on the conventionally powered vessel, launched in April a year ago in a shipyard in Dalian.
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Construction of the unnamed carrier was completed in April previous year.
The 70,000-tonne Type 001A was launched in April last year and is expected to join the navy as early as the end of this year, well before the original target of 2019.
Sunday morning began in China with state broadcaster CCTV relaying footage of the vessel embarking into the blue on a rather gray day. The new Chinese carrier can neither sale for longer without refueling than the above mentioned USA carriers, nor can it carry as many planes. Like the older ship, it can carry some 40 planes.
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China is in the midst of a military modernization program heavily promoted by President Xi Jinping, who has overseen a shift in focus toward creating a more potent fighting force, including projects such as building the second carrier, integrating stealth fighters into its air force and fielding an array of advanced missiles that can strike air and sea targets from long distances. China and India have been seen to rapidly modernise their militaries, especially the navy, which both countries believe will play a crucial role in the Indian-ocean and Indo-Pacific regions.
The CNN report also pointed out that the vessel passing its sea trials, does not necessarily mean it is combat-ready.
Xinhua news agency released a photograph of the ship a short distance from port, and stated that the seat trials will test the "stability and reliability" of the carrier's power system and equipment.
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