China launches first domestically-built aircraft carrier
The new carrier, currently referred to as Type 001A, was transferred from dry dock into the water during a ceremony at the shipyard in Liaoning province, the Xinhua news agency reported.
This is China's second aircraft carrier, after the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy in 2012 put into commission a refitted Soviet Union-made carrier called Liaoning.
The new carrier is 315 metres long and 75 metres wide, and has a displacement of about 70,000 tons and a cruising speed of 31 knots.
It is slightly bigger than the Liaoning carrier, but their outlines are similar, according to The Paper, a Chinese state-owned publication.
Type 001A is expected to be able to carry about eight more aircraft than the Liaoning, which can carry up to 24 fighter jets and 17 helicopters, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.
China is planning to expand its navy as part of a massive overhaul of its military, which President Xi Jinping aims to transform into a smaller but more nimble fighting force. ■