China’s second aircraft carrier ‘Type 001A’ will conduct its first sea trials in the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea areas, this week.
"The first sea trials of China's second aircraft carrier, built at the Dalian shipyard, are likely to take place in the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea to test its power and design," Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times Sunday.
China had launched its second aircraft carrier in April 2017 after it commissioned the first carrier the Liaoning, a re-fitted Soviet Union-made vessel in 2012.
Last Friday, Liaoning Maritime Safety Administration issued three sailing warnings, saying that as military operations would be conducted from April 20 to 28 in parts of the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea, no vessels would be allowed to enter the areas, according to a notice on its website.
Online pictures showed that scaffolding around the Type 001A carrier had been removed, and a phased-array radar has been installed, the Science and Technology Daily reported on April 10.
Military expert Cao Weidong, told news site people.com.cn on April 11 that China's first home-built aircraft carrier is likely to finish sea trials in the second half of this year, which means that it may be delivered to the PLA navy at that time. The Liaoning had conducted three cross-sea area training exercises in 2013, 2016 and 2017.
Cao said it was no surprise that sea trials may start soon, as China had accumulated much experience with its first aircraft carrier. Technical staff and other shipbuilders had been working overtime to ready the new vessel in the past year.
Song predicted the carrier could be ready for combat in two years after sea trials, as well as tests on its radar, command system and shipboard flights.
In just two years, China will have two aircraft carriers with combat capability, which will greatly improve China's blue-water military readiness, as well as effectively safeguard national interests, Song added.