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PHOTOS: China's aircraft carrier out for weapons check

Last updated on: November 30, 2011 08:16 IST

PHOTOS: China's aircraft carrier out for weapons check

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China's first aircraft carrier has commenced its second sea trials in the Pacific Ocean to test its deck for fighter landings as well to check its weapons systems, ahead of its likely deployment next year.

 

The carrier, which has been refurbished after its first trial in August this year, sailed from Dalian port Liaoning Province on Tuesday for relevant scientific research and experiments, Chinese Ministry of Defence Ministry said in a statement, amid heightened maritime tensions in the region.

 

The 300-metre-ship, a refitted former Soviet carrier called the Varyag underwent five days of trial in August and during the current trials the warships radar, weapon system as well as landing deck are expected to be tested.

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The carrier is capable of carrying 33 Chinese-made J-15 jet fighters and helicopters and would have a crew of 2,000 sailors.

 

The defence ministry statement said "after successfully completing its first sea-trials in August the carrier has returned to the ship yard for further refitting. The work has been carried out and it has set sail again for further research.

 

The announcement of second set of trials comes in the backdrop of growing tensions and maritime disputes in the Asia-Pacific region, where China has lately become assertive over claims in South China Sea and East China Sea.

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Image: Chinese-made J-15 jet fighter

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China has not yet revealed officially the kind of aircraft it plans to deploy on the carrier though it signed an agreement with Russia recently to buy over 100 high powered jet engines for its new fleet of fourth generation aircraft.

Despite making rapid advances in defence technologies, China is yet to come up with its own aircraft engine and continue to rely on supplies from Russia and Ukraine.

The vessel, an Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft, has a displacement of 58,500 metric tons, has been totally refitted for its new role as a research and training platform in China.

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The vessel attracted considerable global media attraction when it conducted its first trials in August, months after China claimed to have a developed its firs stealth aircraft J-20.

 

Currently, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, Spain, Italy, India, Brazil and Thailand, operate a total of 21 active-service aircraft carriers.

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In another development, China deployed UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to conduct surveillance in its north eastern coasts.

 

Fang Chaohui, director of the Liaoning provincial marine patrol centre, said Liaoning has become the first province in the country to use pilot less aircraft for marine surveillance.

 

Liaoning previously relied on satellite photos and field surveys to monitor its coast.

 

Liaoning is China's northernmost coastal province with more than 150,000 square km of sea space and 506 islets.

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