January 05, 2012 09:34
China's first aircraft carrier is likely to be commissioned officially early this year, according to press reports. Phoenix Satellite TV in Hong Kong on Wednesday quoted Jingbao Yuekan magazine as reporting the 67,000-ton retrofitted Soviet carrier "qualified to be officially commissioned as it solved technical problems concerning takeoff and landing of aircraft on the ship through three test voyages."
It added the exact timing remains to be decided but is likely to be this year.
It went on test voyages in August, November and late December last year. During the second test voyage, which lasted two weeks, several Jian-15 jets successfully took off and landed on the ship, the monthly reported.
Overseas military magazines reported in November that China had difficulties trying to solve a landing problem because Russia had not sold it the arresting gear necessary for the aircraft to land safely. Asked by reporters to confirm this, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun, however, implied in a monthly press briefing on Dec. 28 that the problem had been solved.
He said China "secured all major equipment of the aircraft carrier," including arresting gear, through its own research and development. The magazine said a Ukrainian engineering team took part in developing the arresting gear.
It also reported that the Chinese military plans to build three aircraft carrier bases, with two -- in the South China Sea and the East China Sea -- already under construction.
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