The first aircraft carrier of the Armed Forces of China left its shipyard at Dalan Port in northern China for the first sea trial, Xinhua said. China redesigned its vessel from the Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag. The 60,000-tonnage and 300-meter long vessel will return to the port after a short trial for extra works.
The Soviet Union failed to complete the construction of the Varyag before it collapsed in 1991. The still-unnamed aircraft carrier was an empty shell when it was sold to Ukraine. Ukraine later disarmed it and removed its engines before selling it to China, Xinhua said.
The Chinese navy is made up of three separate fleets: the Beihai Fleet, the Donghai Fleet and the Nanhai Fleet. Each fleet has its own support bases, flotillas, maritime garrison commands, aviation divisions and marine brigades, Reuters says.
If Beijing is serious about having a viable carrier strike group, it would need three carriers. China would also have to develop support ships and aircraft for any carrier group. It would take some 10 years to develop a viable carrier strike group. China has been building new submarines, surface ships and anti-ship ballistic missiles as part of its naval modernization.