China’s home-made carrier back to pier after first sea trial

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A view of the flight deck and the island of China's domestically built carrier during the vessel's first sea trial. Photo: Weibo via PLA Daily

China’s second aircraft carrier, and the first domestically built, returned to its construction yard at Dalian Shipyard in northeastern China’s Liaoning province at noon on Friday, having wrapped up a five-day voyage into the nearby Bohai Sea. 

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The new carrier embarked on its maiden voyage on May 13, a week later than rumored. Photo: AFP
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Looking out from the carrier’s island. Photo: China Central Television screen grab

State broadcaster China Central Television reported that much of the equipment aboard the 65,000-ton vessel underwent tests throughout the sea trial, “yielding results as expected,” without elaborating further.

But a one-minute clip aired by CCTV has offered a peek into the interior of the vessel, which is yet to be named but is referred to as carrier “Type 001A.”

The vessel’s spacious wheelhouse with racks of monitors and computers, as well as what is believed to be a central chamber of its propulsion system, appeared in the clip.

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A rare view of the carrier’s bulbous bow. Photo: China Central Television screen grab
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Inside the wheelhouse of the carrier. Photo: China Central Television screen grab
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People’s Liberation Army technicians and seamen monitor equipment inside a power chamber. Photo: China Central Television screen grab

It’s believed that the maiden voyage was primarily meant to test the carrier’s conventional oil-fueled steam turbine power plant and other communication, navigation and steering systems.   

The new flattop will cast off for more sea trials in the coming months as the Chinese navy expects to receive it by the end of the year for installation of weapons and air complement.   

State media have played down the first sailing of the carrier on May 13, just one year and two weeks after it was launched.

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Flight deck and the island as seen at dusk. Photo: Weibo via PLA Daily
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Source and graphic: Xinhua and Global Times

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