Earlier this week, China’s People’s Liberation Army-Navy received its second aircraft carrier — and the first that China built on its own. The announcement that China now has two operational aircraft carriers was seen by some as a dramatic uptick in China’s maritime capabilities. But as we’ve discussed on SOFREP before, the nation’s quickly growing Navy still faces a number of challenges before their new carrier, dubbed the Shangdong, poses a real threat to American interests outside of the heavily contested waterways of the Pacific.

Just days later, Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced that America’s newest aircraft carrier, the Ford class USS John F. Kennedy, has taken to the water for the first time.

“This incredible ship before us today serves as the biggest instrument of deterrence and carries our nation’s pride and hope for a better world,” said former NASA Administrator and retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr.

“This vessel is a symbol of our nation’s strength, technical achievement and critical service our men and women provide for this nation and the entire world.”