China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier has entered into service following a commissioning ceremony at a South China Sea naval base.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the ceremony in the southern island province of Hainan, inspecting equipment and guards onboard the new carrier, state media agency Xinhua reported.
The new carrier, which has been named the Shandong after the Chinese province of the same name, is just the second aircraft carrier in China’s navy, and the first to be manufactured in China.
China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was a refitted Soviet-era vessel which Beijing bought second hand from Ukraine in 1998.
It can carry 24 fighter jets while the Shandong is capable of carrying 36, according to state television.
The warship-mounted with electromagnetic railgun is theoretically capable of shooting five times faster than the speed of sound.
However, Shandong is a modest improvement on the Liaoning, China’s aircraft carriers still lags behind those of the United States, which has 10 in service and is planning on building two more.