The 50,000-ton carrier was towed from its dockyard just after 9 a.m. Wednesday following a ceremony in the northern port city of Dalian, where its predecessor, the Soviet-built Liaoning, also underwent extensive refurbishing before being commissioned in 2012, the Ministry of National Defense said.
Military expert Song Zhongping said it is a great achievement that navy built Liaoning aircraft carrier from an unfilled body of the former Soviet vessel.
The new carrier is expected to be formally commissioned sometime before 2020 following the completion of sea trials and the arrival of its full air complement.
China today launched it first home-made aircraft carrier.
A launching ceremony had been expected on Apr. 23, but apparently didn't take place, perhaps due to regional tensions The first aircraft carrier made completely with Chinese technology reportedly remains at the dock, defying predictions that its launching ceremony would be held on Apr. 23, the anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese navy.
"The country unveiled its first domestically built aircraft carrier in 2015, but the Wall Street Journal said in 2016 that top United States naval engineers discovered it wouldn't be operational for up to a decade".
While the Chinese media talked about its navy's massive expansion with new "logistics" in Gwadar in Pakistan and Djibouti in the Indian Ocean, it also projected India in a negative light by suggesting that the nation requires more economic development before it focuses on developing its carrier fleet, PTI reported. With a length of 315 meters and a width of 75 meters, the 001A is somewhat larger than the Liaoning, and it's equipped with the latest technology to enable it to carry more fighters.
Enthusiasts have flocked to the pier in Dalian, Liaoning province, and shared pictures of the new carrier online, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Self-ruled Taiwan, claimed by Beijing as its own, has said China is actually building two new aircraft carriers, but China has not officially confirmed the existence of another carrier. China's primary security objective is to safeguard its interests in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Yellow Sea against regional contenders, such as the U.S. China's aim is to defend its trade, access to natural resources, and build a buffer against perceived U.S. encroachment.
Little is known about China's aircraft carrier program, which is a state secret.