Chinese first home-built aircraft carrier to start its first sea trials in autumn

Li Gang/Xinhua via AP
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China’s first homegrown aircraft carrier is very likely to start its first sea trials in autumn, as its manufacturer announced that it will present key achievements as a tribute to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Corp (DSIC) of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), the manufacturer of the Type 001A, posted details of a meeting on its website on August 18.

Hu Wenming, the head and Party chief of the CSIC who visited the DSIC in Dalian, northeastern China’s Liaoning Province, praised the DSIC’s work, saying the “key project” team has completed tasks ahead of schedule, according to the DSIC. Although the website didn’t mention the aircraft carrier, the photo shows that the meeting is of “the Party Committee Working Conference of 002 Aircraft Carrier” (002 is the code of the project).

“The DSIC will greet the 19th CPC National Congress by delivering key achievements on a special product in this special time,” said DSIC Chairman Liu Zheng, during a DSIC meeting on August 15 in Dalian, according to the company’s website.

Liu said all personnel working on the key project led by the CSIC will stick to the directions of Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, to provide world-class naval equipment for a world-leading navy.

The Type 001A is located in the DSIC’s shipyard in Liaoning Province.

The “special time” refers to the 19th CPC National Congress, which marks the opening of a new phase of China’s reforms. And the enhancement of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) navy’s combat capabilities is an important part of the country’s military reforms, Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Chinese experts believe the project’s next achievement will most likely be the sea trials phase.

Zhang Ye, a research fellow at the PLA Naval Research Institute, told the Global Times that if the Type 001A can start its sea trials before the event, which is the last stage prior to turning the warship over to the navy, it would mark a huge step forward in China’s development of a stronger navy.

China has successfully tested the Type 001A’s power system and the carrier will undergo a mooring test in September ahead of schedule, meaning that the ship’s power system is all set, and Zhang said he believed part of the mooring test has already started even during the power test, so the mooring test period could be shorter than expected.

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