Beijing: Speeding up its efforts to acquire a second aircraft carrier, China on Thursday said the process of the installation of equipment and facilities was on for the nation's first domestically-built carrier after completion of construction of its hull.
China's first home-built aircraft carrier is in the development stage, with the hull having already been assembled in a shipyard, Wu Qian a spokesman of China's Ministry of Defence told a media briefing here.
"The over all design is completed and the main body has taken a shape in the dock. Equipment and facility installation is going on," he said.
The carrier is reportedly being built at Dalian shipyard.
Recent reports in the Chinese media said as the construction of the second aircraft carrier picked up pace China has stepped up preparations for the deployment of its first aircraft carrier force by putting in place a new batch of carrier-based fighter pilots.
China commissioned its first aircraft carrier Liaoning in 2012 which was a former Soviet ship brought from Ukraine and later refurbished locally.
It is reportedly being used mainly for training of landing and take off for its pilots specially flying the newly-built J-15 aircraft to operate from the decks of the carriers.
With plans to build two more carriers, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has built up its largest carrier-based pilot team after more than three years of intensive training, official media reports said in August.
After an effective ground-based training, a new batch of pilots got the aircraft carrier flight certification.
In order to earn the certification, these pilots successfully handled the carrier based J-15 fighter planes to carry out interrupted landings, and also managed ski-jump take-offs using the Liaoning carrier.
One of the pilots was killed when practicing the carrier landing during training this April.
Speculation is rife that China may deploy one of the aircraft carriers in the disputed South China Sea.