|A file photo of "ex-Varyag" aircraft carrier. (China.org.cn)|
Top naval official discloses that China’s first aircraft carrier is expected to enter service this later year.
Xu Hongmeng, Deputy Naval Commander of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) told media that sea trials for China’s first aircraft carrier were carried out smoothly, and the PLA "has a plan" to make it enter service this year.
The remarks were given when Xu participated in the second plenary meeting of the fifth session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) on Mar. 8 at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing.
The latest news shows that the "ex-Varyag" which is in the northeastern Dalian Port is currently equipped with life-size model planes. According to Jane's Defense Weekly, the model planes on the carrier include Shenyang J-15 carrier-based fighter aircraft and Changhe Z-8 transport helicopters.
Rear Admiral Cao Dongshen, also a naval commander, said that the Chinese aircraft carrier program is still in its infancy. Modern war is complex, only relying on aircraft carriers can’t win us a victory.
As to making China’s own aircraft carrier, Major General Xu Xiaoyan, son of Marshal Xu Xiangqian, believes it will take some time. "But only one [aircraft carrier] is not enough, I think we should have our own aircraft carrier formation consisting of three or four aircraft carriers," he said.
On August 10th of last year, China’s first aircraft carrier a retrofitted former Soviet vessel, made its maiden voyage and returned to port five days later. After that, three more sea trials have been taken. According to the spokesman of China’s Defense Ministry, the carrier is mainly used for scientific testing and training.