China’s first domestically developed aircraft carrier left its northeastern port to begin sea trials on Sunday, state media said, the latest milestone in the country’s efforts to modernise its military.
The still-unnamed carrier was launched this time last year but since then has been undergoing fitting of weapons and other systems and has not yet entered service.
The official Xinhua news agency confirmed the ship had left for trials with a short announcement. Other state news outlets showed undated photos of a fog-shrouded carrier just off of its dock.
“Our country’s second aircraft carrier set sail from its dock in the Dalian shipyard for relevant waters to conduct a sea trial mission, mainly to inspect and verify the reliability and stability of mechanical systems and other equipment,” Xinhua said.
Little is known about China’s aircraft carrier programme, which is a state secret, though official media in recent weeks had widely speculated that sea trials were set to start.