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China's aircraft carrier will begin serving the navy this year

China's refitted aircraft carrier will begin serving in the navy officially this year, se...




China's refitted aircraft carrier will begin serving in the navy officially this year, senior military officials said yesterday.

Fighter jets will soon be involved in sea trials that have been running smoothly so far, Xu Hongmeng, deputy commander of Chinese navy, said.

"The military authority plans to let the aircraft carrier be commissioned this year," Xu said in Beijing.

A Ministry of Defense spokesman said previously that the carrier would be used mainly for scientific research and training pilots for future carriers.

Military experts believe the carrier will be commissioned on August 1, China's Army Day, and will serve in the South China Sea. It has yet to be named. 

Photographs posted online have shown aircraft and helicopters landing on the deck of the carrier in the port of Dalian in northeast China.


Chinese J-15 fighters, which military experts regard as the most ideal aircraft for the carrier, took part in short-distance take-off and landing exercises late last year, the Beijing-based Legal Evening News said yesterday.

The vessel will have fighting capability only after fighters can land and take off from the carrier, said carrier expert Zhang Yao, senior researcher at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.

The carrier has taken part in four sea trials in the Yellow Sea since its first one last August.

The vessel will be capable of carrying around 30 fighters and helicopters and carry a crew of around 2,000.

The Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier was bought from Ukraine in 1998 as an empty shell and has been refitted for its role as a research and training platform. All weapons and radar systems and other equipment on board were made in China.

China still has a long way to go to have its home-produced aircraft carriers, because it needs to adapt to new development trends in development, Xu Xiaoyan, a People's Libration Army lieutenant general, said yesterday. "China will need at least three aircraft carriers," Xu said.

Major General Luo Yuan, a researcher with the PLA's Military Science Academy, said: "It is fully possible for China to build more aircraft carriers based on the country's economic power."




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