Netizens identify China's 2nd carrier leaving port from online images

By Liu Xuanzun Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/26 17:30:09

The picture shows aircraft carrier Shandong berths at a naval port in Sanya. China's first domestically-made aircraft carrier Shandong (Hull 17) was officially commissioned to the PLA Navy at a military port in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province, on the afternoon of December 17, 2019, making China one of the few countries in the world that have multiple carriers. Photo:China Military

A series of photos and videos uploaded on China's social media platforms have set Chinese internet abuzz as they were identified by Chinese military enthusiasts and netizens as showing China's second aircraft carrier, the country's first domestically built one, leaving its shipyard for sail on Monday. 

The move, if verified, will mark the aircraft carrier, the Shandong's first known voyage in five months since being commissioned in December and later returning to the shipyard for maintenance.

The voyage could feature intense, capability-boosting training and test new modifications made in the past few months, Chinese experts said on Tuesday.

According to these unverified photos and videos posted by a number of netizens on Chinese social media and reports by Sina Military, the Shandong set off on a voyage on Monday from the Dalian Shipyard in Northeast China's Liaoning Province.

It coincided with a navigation restriction notice released by the Maritime Safety Administration on Friday, which said entry into a vast area of the Yellow Sea will be prohibited due to a military mission from Monday to June 2, without mentioning if the aircraft carrier would be taking part in the mission.

Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie told the Global Times on Tuesday that the Shandong is now laying the foundation for forming initial operational capability, as it needs to solve issues in all of its systems and train related personnel.

The domestically developed Shandong was commissioned into the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on December 17 with a grand ceremony held at a naval base in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province, after which it sailed back to the Dalian Shipyard in late December for maintenance.

After the long distance round trip from Dalian to Sanya, the Shandong needed time to make improvements and calibrations based on possible problems it encountered then, Li said.

The latest voyage, if verified, will likely test if every adjustment is working well, and if possible, some exercises including the takeoff and landing of fighter jets and formation with other warships will be conducted, Li predicted.

During its stay in Dalian, the aircraft carrier organized port exercises, the Xinhua News Agency reported in April 22. The Chinese Navy also said in February that no sailor on the Shandong was infected with COVID-19 and all training and testing work was being carried out according to schedule.

China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in April conducted deep sea cross-regional mobilization exercises featuring comprehensive back-to-back attack-defense mock battles in the South China Sea, according to reports.

Posted in: MILITARY

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