China's first homegrown aircraft carrier begins sea trials
The 50,000-ton vessel, codenamed Type 001A, is the second aircraft carrier launched by China.
It follows the carrier Liaoning, which was put into service with China's navy in 2012.
The new carrier was launched on Sunday from its dock at the Dalian Shipyard.
The sea trial is focused on testing the reliability and stability of the carrier's power system and other critical equipment.
Construction of the new carrier began in November 2013, dry dock construction started in March 2015, and the vessel was launched in April last year.
Equipment debugging, outfitting, and mooring tests have been completed in preparation for the vessel's maiden voyage.
The new carrier contains more than 12,000 pieces of equipment made by 512 Chinese enterprises.
"Among those 532 enterprises, 412 are not military-industrial ones, accounting for about 77.4 percent. This demonstrates that the whole society, as well as our country's national industrial system, are both indispensable for our country's military industry," says Hu Wenming, the head of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, who led the research and development of the Type 001A carrier.
He adds that he's confident to see a bright future with regards to China's navy development, as the independently-designed carrier shows that China is home to some of the most advanced ship-building technology in the world.
"We already have an experienced, skillful team to design, research, and develop our aircraft carriers. The average age of the team members is 36. Since we have the ability to independently design them, I'm confident that we will be able to develop all kinds of aircraft carriers, and furthermore, develop all sorts of naval vessels," says Hu.
According to Hu Wenming, there are three so-called "pearls on the crown" when it comes to a country's ship building industry, those being the aircraft carrier, the luxury cruise ship, and the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carrier.
China's biggest gas carrier, named "Pan Asia" was launched in April 2016, and the country's first luxury cruise ship is expected to begin operations by as early as 2021.