China’s new aircraft carrier may start sea trials this week

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    China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier is expected to start sea trials imminently, a source close to the navy said, amid what analysts say is growing external pressure to push forward its development, South China Morning Post, reports.

    The Type 001A aircraft carrier’s maiden sea trial could take place this week, possibly coinciding with the PLA Navy’s 69th anniversary on Monday depending on weather and ocean conditions, according to the source.

    The Liaoning Maritime Safety Administration announced on Friday that three areas in the northeastern Bohai and Yellow Sea would be cordoned off for military activities from April 20 to 28. The restricted areas are close to the shipyard in Liaoning province where the new carrier is being built.

    A main engine run was conducted on Tuesday, indicating sea trials were about to start, said another source who witnessed the engine test.

    The aircraft carrier is expected to enter service later this year, 12 months ahead of schedule, which one naval expert put down to a growing sense of urgency as rivalry between China and the United States intensifies.

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