China’s first aircraft carrier, Varyag, has completed maiden sea trials achieving all “anticipated objectives”, defence ministry spokesperson Yang Yujun said.

Yujun did not disclose details on the objectives achieved during the sea trials, but said that the refitted aircraft carrier had returned to the shipyard for undergoing further refurbishment and testing.

The 304.5m-long and 37m-wide vessel belongs to the Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier and has a displacement capacity of 58,500 metric tons.

The vessel, a former Soviet era aircraft carrier, is an upgraded version of a partially built vessel purchased from Ukraine in 1998.

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy has plans to use the carrier as a research and training platform in China.

Currently, the US, UK, France, Russia, Spain, Italy, India, Brazil and Thailand operate a total of 21 active-service aircraft carriers.