BEIJING-China's first domestically produced aircraft carrier began sea trials Sunday, the latest step forward in the country's quest to advance its military footprint.
The sea trials are aimed at testing the reliability and stability of the ship's propulsion and other systems.
Construction of the unnamed carrier was completed in April past year.
"Aircraft carriers are for power projection and for domination, and this is just the first of several more indigenous carriers".
The new ship, which is set to boost the military capability of the country, is the second Chinese aircraft carrier, but the first to be fully designed in China, as the first - "Liaoning" - was built on the base of the unfinished Soviet aircraft carrier "Varyag". Both feature Soviet-design ski-jump bows rather than the catapult technology used for launching aircraft on USA aircraft carriers.
The news of the carrier's first trip away from port comes on the heels of another significant accomplishment of China's military modernization program; the successful flight tests of China's J-20 stealth fighter jets, reported on Thursday May, 10. The Taiwan Air Force tracked and tailed the intrusive aircraft at exceptionally close range.
Expected to be commissioned by 2020, the ship would give China a second aircraft carrier as it asserts its claims in the South China Sea, where Taiwan has virtually identical claims. The ship's chief engineering commander, Hu Wenming, told the broadcaster the carrier was smaller than USA carriers' Nimitz class.
The new carrier has more than 12,000 pieces of equipment that were made by 532 Chinese enterprises, including many private firms, according to officials from China Shipbuilding Industry Corp.
The new carrier has a conventional propulsion system. They said the vessel has more than 3,600 cabins, noting that during construction, there would be at least 3,000 workers from across the country working on the ship each day.
Its predecessor was intended more as a training base, but the new ship is likely to be deployed for combat, putting China alongside the U.S., the UK, Russia and France in its global capability.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is overseeing an ambitious plan to update the armed forces as China ramps up its presence in the disputed South China Sea.