China’ Second Aircraft Carrier Type 002 Starts Second Round of Sea Trials

China's first domestically built aircraft carrier embarked on its second sea trial on Monday from its shipyard in Dalian, Liaoning province. Videos and images published by Chinese ship spotters showed that the giant ship, which has yet to be officially named but is widely believed to bear the name 'Shandong', left the port of Dalian Shipbuilding Industry, its builder, assisted by several tugboats.

China Second Aircraft Carrier Type 002 Starts Second Round of Sea Trials The 2nd Chinese aircraft carrier leaving the port of Dalian, seen from an airliner (Photo: 沉默 的 多数 派)

There appeared to be no aircraft or other large equipment on the vessel's deck. A few days before the sea trials, photos taken by Chinese spotters showed that full-size models were loaded on the flight deck. J-15 fighter aircraft model and Z-8 and Z-9 helicopter models were spotted. The crew will probably conduct tests related to aeronautical technical support during these sea trials.

The new carrier, the largest and most sophisticated naval vessel in China, was designed and built domestically, with construction beginning in November 2013. The ship was moved from dry dock to the water in April last year. It made its maiden sea trial in mid-May to demonstrate the reliability and performance of its propulsion systems.

A ship researcher from the Navy who asked not to be named said he expected the second sea trial to mainly verify the carrier's communication, navigation and other electronic and mechanical instruments.

He also said the operation will test modifications and improvements on the ship's propulsion system that were made after the first sea trial.

The ship still requires several sea trials before being commissioned by the Navy, according to the researcher.

The PLA Navy now operates just one carrier-the Liaoning, originally a Soviet-era vessel that was extensively refitted by the Dalian shipbuilder. The vessel underwent 10 sea trials starting in August 2011 before entering service in September 2012.

The new carrier displaces at least 50,000 metric tons of water. It has conventional propulsion systems and will use a ramp to launch J-15 fighter jets, the spearhead of a Chinese carrier battle group, similar to the Liaoning. The ship will also carry several types of helicopters.

The first of China's Type 055-class guided-missile destroyers-also started its first sea trial on Friday from Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai as we reported.