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CCTV insight: Importance of sea trial of aircraft carrier

08-10-2011 20:18 BJT

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Q1:For more details on China's aircraft carrier's first sea trial, we have our reporter Han Bin in the studio. Han Bin, tell us how will it be carried out and how important is the sea trial?

A1:Well, China’s aircraft carrier project has been a long-kept secret. Two weeks ago, the Chinese military stressed that newly rebuilt aircraft carrier, the Varyag, will mainly be used for training and research. With regard to its first sea trial, the National Defense has not released the date or how long the trial will last. But a statement posted on the web-site of the Liaoning Maritime Safety Administration publicized a notice restricting navigation in waters off the Dalian coast. It says that “all vessels are forbidden from travelling through an area of sea 13.25 nautical miles wide and 22 nautical miles long, in the northern Yellow Sea and Liaodong Bay, from August 10th to 14th.”

Military experts say the sea trial is seen as the second important step towards full operation. This means the carrier will undergo further checkups for its various systems in the sea. This will include engines, aviation and navigation equipment, electronics, fire-control, and life-saving and maintenance operations. It usually takes several days depending on the actual testing. And once the second stage is fully completed, the carrier will face its final stage, that is to test its ship-born take off and landing capabilities. And it may take several years before the carrier is fully operational.

Q2:There has been wide speculation that though China's first aircraft carrier has been built up, it does not necessarily mean it is shovel ready to work its duties. From your talks with Chinese experts, what are their takes?

A2: We know that rebuilding the Varyag has mainly solved the problems of how to build an aircraft carrier and how to use carrier operational groups. This will provide a true training environment for China's naval forces performances in the deep blue sea, and help the country produce its home-made aircraft carriers in the future.

From external appearances, the remodeled aircraft carrier looks like its sister ship the Russian Kuzenetsov. It has the key functions like fixed-wing aircraft landing and offshore systems, artillery and anti-ballistic missile systems and other functions. It's believed the carrier will use China's advanced J-15 fighters and Ka-28 and 31 multi-role ship-borne helicopters. It will also follow the Russian take-off system, provided by a ski-jump at the forward end of the flight deck. And all these systems and pilots need extensive training. So, it takes time to say that the PLA has a carrier based navy.

From what I have learned, the Varyag is based on the former Soviet military operational thinking. It does not fully comply with China's naval demands. However, the refitting of this carrier, is a major step towards China’s goal.

Editor:Xiong Qu |Source: CNTV.CN

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