A radar mast has been installed on China’s first home-made aircraft carrier, the Type 001A leading to speculation that the ship will take to sea trials in early 2018, some six months ahead of schedule.
“It is very efficient that the construction has moved forward to radar installation five months after the ship was launch. Once the radar systems are installed, which takes the longest period of time, the rest will be finished quickly,” Li Jie, an aircraft carrier expert was quoted as saying by Peoples' Daily Online.
Recently, photos of a radar mast being constructed on the carrier were posted online. Li Jie said adding that the ship will be ready for a sea trial at or around the beginning of 2018, because usually it will be one year between the launch of a medium-and large-sized carrier and a sea trial.
The Type 001A was launched in April a couple of years after news of the carrier being under construction surfaced in the Chinese media.
The accelerated speed will enable the trial to take place ahead of schedule, Li said, adding that other systems are possibly being installed simultaneously, including navigation, communication, and power systems.
Li said the possibility of starting an earlier sea trial should not be counted out if the outfitting work and system debugging are completed ahead of schedule, but he also pointed out that an unofficial sea test could be carried out before an official one.