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China launches first domestically-made aircraft carrier

China's newly-built aircraft carrier Liaoning is transferred from dry dock into the water at a launch ceremony at a shipyard in Dalian

Unlike the Liaoning, which primarily serves as test platforms for Chinese carrier-based naval aviation and technology demonstrator, the Shandong is expected to be operationally deployed and serve in the PLA Navy's North Sea Fleet or East Sea Fleet after its commissioning.

The carrier, known only as "Type 001A", set out for the trials from a port in northeastern China at about 6:45am, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said.

While the Chinese military announced the event this morning, it gave no details as to the duration and location for the sea trials.

Now the carrier, currently identified as "Type 001A" will undergo a series of tests at sea, before being officially commissioned into service by the Chinese Navy (PLAN) in 2020. This no-go zone is about 100 km southeast of Dalian in the northern part of the Yellow Sea. The trials are meant to test the reliability and stability of its power system, Xinhua said.

Some Chinese media reports, however, said that the new carrier is created to be able to carry 36 aircraft - 12 more than the Liaoning that has been in service since 2012.

The state-run China Daily newspaper reported Sunday that the new ship will do what a carrier "is supposed to do: running combat-ready patrols and safeguarding the nation's maritime sovereignty and interests".

Reports said China is already building its third aircraft carrier in Shanghai.

Some reports said China is also planning to build a nuclear aircraft carrier.

In Hong Kong media claimed that the Chinese Navy a year ago began construction of a third aircraft carrier, equipped with modern catapult for faster take-off aircraft on the basis of the electromagnetic system.

Embarrassingly, for the United Kingdom, their new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, sprung a leak during its sea trials in 2017, and required repairs. The new Chinese carrier can neither sale for longer without refueling than the above mentioned USA carriers, nor can it carry as many planes.

"With the Chinese carriers substantially inferior in capacity to the USA super-carriers, the balance of forces between the two navies will only change marginally rather than substantially", he added.

China has developed a new jet fighter called A J-15 fighter to operate from the decks of its carriers.