China's first domestically built aircraft carrier left the port outside the Dalian Shipyard on Sunday morning to begin its first sea trial. A military expert said the trial will mainly test basic system functionality and carrier-based aircrafts will participate in combat trials after the carrier is formally delivered to China's navy.
At 5:30 am on Sunday morning, the aircraft carrier embarked from port in Dalian, a coastal city in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, with the assistance of five tug boats as firecrackers and the vessel's horn sounded in celebration. At 7:14 am, the carrier turned around successfully and headed to sea, disappearing in the fog at 7:30 am.
The Dalian Shipyard belongs to the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, the producer of China's first domestically built aircraft carrier. On Saturday, many locals and tourists came to the port outside the shipyard to take photos in anticipation of the upcoming maiden trial.
The first sea trial is conducted by the producer of the carrier, so it will mainly focus on the testing of its basic systems, including power, communication, fire safety, and electro-mechanical, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Sunday.
"Weapon systems and carrier-based aircrafts are unlikely to participate in the first sea trial, and combat capability tests will be carried out by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy after the carrier is formally delivered to the navy. Before this, its producer may need about six months to finish tests, which means the navy will receive the ship by the end of this year," Song said.