China's first domestically built aircraft carrier completed its debut sea trial last week and returned to a shipyard in Liaoning province's coastal city of Dalian. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy said in a brief statement that the five-day trial, which started on May 13 and aimed to demonstrate the reliability and capability of the carrier's propulsion systems, came to an end last Friday, said China Daily.
The vessel, known in local media as Type 001A, sailed back to a port of Dalian Shipbuilding Industry, its builder. The name and hull code of the new carrier, which displaces at least 50,000 tonnes, remain unknown, since the PLA Navy usually makes such information public only when a ship is commissioned.
Mr Li Jie, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said a carrier's debut sea trial mainly tests its boilers and propellers. The next trial will verify its communications, navigation and electronic device, he said. He told China Daily the carrier will likely be delivered to the Chinese navy within a year.
China's first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, which was originally a Soviet-era vessel and was extensively refitted at the Dalian shipbuilder, conducted 10 sea trials, starting in August 2011, before going into service in September 2012. There is speculation that the PLA's Type 055 destroyer, Asia's most advanced and biggest destroyer and the carrier's likely escort, will soon start sea tests, reported South China Morning Post.