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China's aircraft carrier fully operational

Staff writer ▼ | June 12, 2013
Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier, has left its homeport to conduct scientific experiments and sea training, People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy said.
Liaoning China first aircraft carrier
Liaoning China first aircraft carrierLiaoning, China's first aircraft carrier, has left its homeport to conduct scientific experiments and sea training, People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy said.


This was the first time for the carrier to leave its homeport of Qingdao in East China's Shandong province since it anchored there in February. The Liaoning and its crew members had conducted a series of scheduled tests and training drills in the homeport during the period.

Currently, China operates one aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which was refitted based on an unfinished Russian-made carrier and delivered to the Navy on Sept 25, 2012.

The aircraft carrier was referred to as Riga when her keel was laid down at Nikolayev South Shipyard (formerly Shipyard 444) at Nikolayev in December 1985. The ship was launched in December 1988 and renamed Varyag in late 1990.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the ownership rights were transferred to Ukraine. The construction had ceased by 1992 due to funding problems. The unfinished vessel sat in the Ukrainian shipyard until 1998, when it was sold at auction to a Macau-based Chinese company for $20 million. The company handed over the vessel to the PLA Navy for refurbishment.

The flight deck is designed to carry about 50 warplanes, including helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Liaoning was originally equipped with a flight deck for launching aircraft, it is expected to be fitted with an electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) to be able to launch of heavier naval aircraft from the deck.

Liaoning is expected to operate J-15 aircraft, J-10 carrier based aircraft, Z-8/Ka-31 AEW helicopters and Ka-27 ASW helicopters. The ship can carry 2,500t of aviation fuel for allowing the aircraft and helicopter sorties of 500 to 1,000.


 

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