China’s first domestically
built and unnamed aircraft carrier set out to sea from a port outside the Dalian Shipyard
Sunday morning to begin its first sea trial and the experts said the carrier
will likely be delivered to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy by the end
of this year.
official Xinhua news agency confirmed the ship had left for trials with a short
announcement. Other state news outlets showed undated photos of a fog-shrouded
carrier just off of its dock
Though launched this time last year, the ship has been undergoing fitting
of weapons and other systems.
State media has quoted experts as saying that the country needs
at least six carriers. The United States operates 10 and plans to build two
Complete outfitting of the ship is expected to take another
year. Experts said that would be a pretty quick time frame, but is based on the
experiences learned from the retrofitting of the Liaoning, which is
now in active service and has conducted many training missions including
cruising near Taiwan.
The ships' builder required about a year to complete 10 sea trials of the Liaoning,
which was formally delivered to the navy on September 25, 2012.
"At that time, we had no experience building aircraft carriers, so we
needed more time to test every detail step by step. Thanks to the knowledge we
gained from the Liaoning, the sea trials of the new carrier are
likely to be easier and smoother, so the PLA navy won't need to wait too
long," said Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie.
Experts and analysts see in developing such home-built carriers
China’s ultimate aim seems to be gaining and establishing itself in prominence
in the region reducing the US military prominence.