TIGHT SCHED­ULE

Liaon­ing is busy with tests and train­ing mis­sions

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO LEI on board the Liaon­ing, South China Sea zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s first air­craft car­rier, the Liaon­ing, has con­ducted more than 100 tests and train­ing tasks since early De­cem­ber, when it be­gan a train­ing mis­sion in the South China Sea, the navy said on Sun­day.

“The Liaon­ing suc­cess­fully per­formed sev­eral tests of the com­bat sys­tem to­day and or­ga­nized for the first time com­pre­hen­sive com­bat train­ing,” the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army navy said in a state­ment. “Through this op­er­a­tion, we tested the car­rier’s com­bat ca­pa­bil­ity and tried the per­for­mance of its propul­sion and sea­wor­thi­ness.”

This is the first time the Liaon­ing has made a long-dis­tance train­ing voy­age since it was com­mis­sioned into the PLA navy last year, the state­ment said, adding that the mis­sion is char­ac­ter­ized by a large num­ber of tests, rig­or­ous stan­dards, com­pli­cated cir­cum­stances as well as col­lab­o­ra­tion with mul­ti­ple mil­i­tary units.

The ship left its home­port of Qing­dao, Shan­dong prov­ince, on Nov 26 and an­chored at a naval base in Sanya, Hainan prov­ince, three days later. On Dec 5, it set out on the train­ing mis­sion.

Two mis­sile de­stroy­ers, the Shenyang and Shi­ji­azhuang, and two mis­sile frigates, the Yan­tai and Weifang, par­tic­i­pated in the mis­sion. They es­corted the car­rier along the whole voy­age from Qing­dao to Sanya.

“The South China Sea has deep waters, strong wind and big waves, mak­ing it a suit­able place for the air­craft car­rier to con­duct tests and train­ing,” said Se­nior Cap­tain Zhang Zheng, cap­tain of the Liaon­ing.

Crewmem­bers also have per­formed a se­ries of tests on items such as the ship struc­ture’s re­sis­tance to stress, sail­ing speed in deep waters and sta­bil­ity of weapons and equip­ment, he added, not­ing that com­bat de­part­ments prac­ticed ex­er­cises to de­fend in­com­ing hos­tile air­craft, ships and sub­marines.

Sev­eral types of air­craft, com­bat ships and sub­marines were dis­patched to co­op­er­ate with the car­rier dur­ing the mis­sion, which sim­u­lates real com­bat sit­u­a­tions, ac­cord­ing to Zhang.

Af­ter en­ter­ing ac­tive ser­vice in Septem­ber 2012, the Liaon­ing has car­ried out 12 sea tri­als and tests, in­clud­ing land­ings and take­offs for the J-15 fighter jet.

The ship is still in the test and ex­er­cise stage, ac­cord­ing to Se­nior Cap­tain Mei Wen, Liaon­ing’s po­lit­i­cal com­mis­sar.

“We have com­manded the ba­sic ca­pa­bil­ity to op­er­ate and co­or­di­nate fighter jets and he­li­copters with the car­rier,” Mei said. “We have ac­cu­mu­lated much ex­pe­ri­ence in lo­gis­tic sup­port for the J-15 fight­ers and im­proved a lot in terms of dam­age con­trol and han­dling of equip­ment mal­func­tions.”

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Staff on the air­craft car­rier mon­i­tor the weather.

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