First Chinese-built Carrier Returns from Successful Sea Trials

May 22, 2018 1:17 PM
Chinese Type-001A carrier returned to port after a week of sea trials. Xinhua Photo

China’s first domestically built carrier has returned from its first set of sea trials last week, according to photos released by Chinese state media.

The yet-unnamed Type-001A carrier – based on the Soviet-era Admiral Kuznetsov-class design – tested its systems in the Bohai Sea after leaving the Dalian Shipyard on May 13.

A major task during the trials was to test and assess the Chinese domestically built propulsion plant for the carrier, state-controlled media stated.

“The sea trials will mainly test the reliability and stability of the carrier’s power system and other equipment,” the state-controlled agency said when the carrier left port.
“Construction on the carrier has been carried out as planned since it was launched in April last year, and equipment debugging, outfitting and mooring tests have been completed to make it ready for the trial mission at sea.”

China’s Type-001A Carrier following its launching ceremony on April 26, 2017. Ministry of National Defense Photo

Chinese officials are preparing for the next set of trials that will move beyond the basic hull and mechanical functions of the Type-001A and include the ship’s combat and electrical systems, according to the South China Morning Post.

Several sets of trials are expected before the carrier officially delivers to the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

The Type-001A features a short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) configuration of the Soviet-era Chinese carrier Liaoning.

Reports from the PLA say the new carrier would field an unspecified number of Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark – an unlicensed copy of the Russian Sukhoi Su-33 fighter.

A third carrier – which is reportedly under construction near Shanghai – is reported to look more like a U.S. carrier with a Catapult-Assisted Take-Off Barrier Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) systems aboard.

China has said that it plans to seek a force of up to four aircraft carriers.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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