China will launch its first indigenous aircraft carrier, which would be base of the army’s fighter jets and helicopters, this year.
The new aircraft carrier, which is the first of the Type 001A class, is currently being built at a Chinese airport. “It is near to completion,” Xu Guangyu, a retired Chinese military officer as well as consultant to China Arms Control And Disarmament Association was quoted as saying by various local media of China.
"The aircraft carrier is being built as planned. Most of its major construction and design work has been completed. Its hull has already been assembled in a shipyard. The ship will soon be equipped with aviation, radar and other facilities," Chinese Defence Ministry Spokesperson Wu Qian had said last year.
Though it has been made operational with variety of exercises in the disputed South China Sea, it is largely considered as an experimental carrier.
The aircraft carrier is being built as planned. Most of its major construction and design work has been completed. Its hull has already been assembled in a shipyard.
The ship will soon be equipped with aviation, radar and other facilities," Chinese Defence Ministry Spokesperson said. Yin Zhuo, a Chinese naval expert, also confirmed in a CCTV interview that China's first home-made aircraft carrier is expected to be launched in early 2017.
There is still a large amount of work to do at the carrier's outfitting stage after its launching. It will take about one to two years to carry out functional debugging for its devices. The new aircraft carrier could begin its sea trial by early 2019, Xu said.
Xu also mentioned in the interview that Chinese carrier pilots are under training, with an expectation of forming two aviation units.
The unveiling of Indigenous aircraft carrier will follow the launch of China’s first Soviet Era aircraft carrier Lioning in 2012. It was refit of a hull made in Soviet Union.
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