China’s first aircraft carrier Liaoning will take part in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s first combat drill to be held in the disputed South China Sea region, local media reports.
This is a routine and planned arrangement to test and improve the military's training level and comprehensively enhance its ability to combat and to win. The drills are not targeted at any specific country, the PLA Navy said Friday, without elaborating on the drills' time and location.
A military source told the Global Times that the plan of the combat drills was decided at the beginning of the year, and will be conducted in China's territorial waters.
Another military expert was quoted as saying that China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning may, for the first time, participate in the drills, as it is capable of preliminary combat power after five exercises.
China's first aircraft carrier went into commission on September 26, 2012 and was named "Liaoning" after the northeastern province. The 300-metre ship, refurbished and upgraded from the unfinished Soviet carrier Varyag, which China bought from Ukraine in 1998, is believed to be years away from active service.