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Aircraft carrier Varyag's past and now

07-27-2011 16:07 BJT Special Report:China Refits Aircraft Carrier “Varyag” |

With "Varyag's" reconstruction work nearing an end, people are paying more and more attention to it. From 1998 when it went into the water for the first time up till now, Varyag's journey has been on a rather tortuous path. It somehow resonates with China's quest for aircraft carriers in the past decades.

In the 1980's, "Varyag" was built in Ukraine's Nikolayev shipyard by the Soviet military. At the time, two were built, one was numbered 105 and the other 106. 105 has been transformed into the "Kuznetsov", currently operated by the Russian navy, while 106 is the ill-fated "Varyag". According to design proposals, the two aircraft carriers have a water displacement capacity of 67 thousand tons. They are 310 meters in length, only 22 meters shorter than the world's current largest aircraft carrier - America's "Nimitz". The bow is 7 floors away from water, its deck is 75 meters wide. It can accommodate 60 fighter jets at full capacity. By December 25th, 1991, when the Soviet Union was dismantled, construction had been 68% complete. Ukraine couldn't afford to continue construction and decided to auction the ships off.

With "Varyag's" reconstruction work nearing an end, people are paying more and more attention to it. From 1998 when it went into the water for the first time up till now, Varyag's journey has been on a rather tortuous path. It somehow resonates with China's quest for aircraft carriers in the past decades.

In 1998, a company in Macao bought "Varyag" for 20 million yuan. In July 1999, with the help of a tow boat, "Varyag" left the shipyard and embarked on a long journey to China. When "Varyag" reached the south of the Black Sea, and was preparing to cross the Turkish Bosphorus strait, it was stopped by the Turkish government. Turkey expressed concern that because of the ship's large size, it may collide with the bridge and cause congestion. The Chinese government then started a 16 month long negotiation with the Turks. Finally, on November 1st 2000, "Varyag" was allowed to proceed on its journey. However, because it also wasn't allowed to pass through Egypt's Suez Canal, "Varyag" had to make a detour around the Atlantic sea, passing Africa's Cape Point, and then the Indian Ocean to sail for China. On March 3rd 2001, "Varyag" finally reached its destination - China's Dalian port. Four years had past since it was first purchased.

With "Varyag's" reconstruction work nearing an end, people are paying more and more attention to it. From 1998 when it went into the water for the first time up till now, Varyag's journey has been on a rather tortuous path. It somehow resonates with China's quest for aircraft carriers in the past decades.

After the rusted "Varyag" arrived in China, it lay idle at Dalian port for 3 years. But in April, 2005, "Varyag's" construction resumed.

2009 was an important year for "Varyag". It was hauled into a shipyard for renovation. Soviet navy insignias and its Russian name engravings on the body of the ship were taken off. In August in the same year, "Varyag" reconstruction officially started.

At the beginning of 2010, after spending 11 months in the shipyard, "Varyag" left for a port close to the yard. New inverted rails were put on deck. Cabins aboard had been transformed with complete seal-off designs. On the third of April, "Varyag" began to be painted with inorganic zinc-rich primer.

This major transformation, especially with phased array radar, FL-3000N short range air defense missiles, leaves no doubt in people's minds that "Varyag" will soon come into service as a member of China's navy.

 

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV.CN

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