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Chinese aircraft carrier begins maiden voyage

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Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning. An MoD photo

BEIJING (BNS): The Chinese Navy's sole aircraft carrier, Liaoning, has begun its maiden voyage after being commissioned into service last month.

The 60,000 tonne carrier set sail from its home port at Dalian in northeast China on Friday, the China Daily newspaper reported on Monday citing the CNTV.cn news channel.

Images released by the channel showed a J-15 carrier-based naval fighter aircraft practicing take-off and landing on the craft.

The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China commissioned the Soviet-era built aircraft carrier on September 25, 2012, boosting its fast expanding "blue-water" capabilities beyond the country's territorial waters.

The ship was bought from Ukraine in 1998 and underwent about seven years of refitting efforts to install engines, weapons, as well as a year-long sea trial before being commissioned into service.

With its commissioning, China became the 10th country in the world and the last among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to have an aircraft carrier in active service.

The 990-foot Liaoning is capable of accommodating 33 fixed wing aircraft, according to the Chinese media.

China plans to deploy the J-15 fighters, stated to be a home-made variant of Russia's Su-33 jet, to operate from the carrier.

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