China has reportedly confirmed the construction of its 50,000t second aircraft carrier, which is in addition to the existing refurbished ex-Ukrainian aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.
Chinese officials said that the carrier will be suited to the needs of the country and will be modelled on the architecture of the Liaoning.
Designed in China and being built in the port of Dalian, the new aircraft carrier will be fitted with a conventional non-nuclear power plant, and will be equipped with the capacity to ferry domestically-developed J-15 fighter jets.
However, the new vessel is claimed to be strategically different from Liaoning.
Chinese Navy Academic Research Institute researcher Cao Weidong was quoted by CRI Online as saying: "It's going to have a brand new propulsion system, as well as an independently-designed hull that will be built with Chinese-developed special steel. There is no doubt that its interior structure will be totally different from the Liaoning's."
Additionally, the carrier will be fitted with a range of ammunitions, such as China's latest phased array radar, short-range anti-aircraft missiles, and quick-firing cannons.
It will also be facilitated with a ski-jump ramp to allow the J-15 fighter jets to take off.
The launch of the Chinese aircraft carrier comes amidst huge tension in the South China Sea.
China claimed that the expanse traversed by the US fleet poses a threat towards their security and integrity, which they seek to preserve by introducing the new vessel.
Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said: "China has a long coast line and a vast maritime area under our jurisdiction. To safeguard our maritime sovereignty, interests and rights is the sacred mission of the Chinese armed forces."
Image: China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning. Photo: courtesy of Yhz1221.