• China's First Locally Made Aircraft Carrier

China's First Locally Made Aircraft Carrier (Photo : Getty Images)

The first China-made military carrier is anticipated to launch anytime soon. The ship no longer has scaffolding around it and red flags can be seen on its flight deck, based on the latest images released by the state media.

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According to previous reports, the carrier, provisionally named as Type 001A, was scheduled to launch on Monday in line with the celebration of the 68th founding anniversary of the Chinese navy. 

However, the launch did not take place due to unfavorable tidal conditions, some experts said. A launch ceremony is likely to be held in the next few days.

South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported of enthusiasts gathering at the pier in Dalian, Liaoning Province. The fans shared photos of the new carrier over social media, with some images showing naval officers practicing for the upcoming ceremony.

President Xi Jinping, the head of the prevailing Central Military Commission, may come to the ceremony, media reports said.

The new ship, with a cruising speed of 31 knots, has a length of 315 meters and a width of 75 meters, just a little bigger than Liaoning, the country’s first aircraft carrier. Liaoning was refurbished from Varyag, a semi-completed Soviet carrier.

Although the new carrier’s layout is comparable to that of Liaoning, the new carrier includes the most modern equipment--a larger hangar that can contain more J-15 fighters and more room on deck for aircraft including helicopters.

Since China’s second carrier will be docked at the Qingdao carrier base in Shandong Province, local media made speculations that the ship will be named Shandong.

The ship is anticipated to enter full service in 2020.

The launch of the new carrier will make China the seventh country to have the capacity to make its own aircraft carriers.

SCMP reported that the building of China’s third carrier, temporarily named as Type 002, is in progress in Shanghai.

China intends to build two Type 002 carriers, according to Hong Kong-based military expert Liang Guoliang. Each Type 002 carrier will have a displacement of 85,000 tons, making the ships the largest Chinese carriers as they surpass Liaoning’s 55,000 tons and Type 001A’s 70,000 tons.

The launch of the first China-made military carrier shows that Beijing is exerting effort in advancing its naval forces.