China has launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier designed and built in the northeast port of Dalian.
The new carrier, the first domestically-built one, was transferred from dry dock into the water at a launch ceremony that started at about 9 a.m. in Dalian shipyard of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corp, Xinhua reported Wednesday.
It is China's second aircraft carrier, which comes after the Liaoning, a refitted former Soviet Union-made carrier that was put into commission in the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy in 2012.
The carrier’s hull is fully constructed along with propulsion, power and other systems, Xinhua reported.
The newest carrier will take a couple of years to enter full service including two to three years to train carrier-based pilots and training with other ships to form a carrier group. Military experts have suggested the carrier would be fully operational by 2020.
The Type 001A is similar to the Liaoning but military experts say its layout, equipment and overall operational concept are advanced, including a bigger hangar to carry more J-15 fighters and more space on decj for helicopters and other aircraft.
The Type 001A weighs about 70,000 tonnes, is 315 metres long, 75 metres wide and has a cruising speed of 31 knots.