Beijing: China’s first domestically built aircraft slipped into the sea for the first time on Wednesday, after days of publicity celebrating the impending launch as a mark under the rule of President Xi Jinping to extend China’s military extension far beyond its shores.
The 50,000-ton carrier was towed from its dockyard just after 9 a.m. Wednesday following a ceremony in the northern port city of Dalian, where its predecessor, the Soviet-built Liaoning, also underwent extensive refurbishing before being commissioned in 2012, the Ministry of National Defense said.
Development of the new carrier began in 2013 and construction in late 2015. It’s expected to be formally commissioned sometime before 2020, after sea trials and the arrival of its full air complement.
However, after decommissioning the INS Viraat earlier this year, the Indian Navy is down to a single carrier, INS Vikramaditya. Vikramaditya is merely a repurposed 1980s-era Russian carrier formerly known as the Admiral Gorshkov.