China's second aircraft carrier, Type 001A will conduct fighter jet and other aircraft trials on March 5, which will be the last of the sea trials before its induction into the Chinese Navy (PLA-N).
The carrier set sail on February 27 from the Dalian Shipyard for its fifth sea trial, three days after the country's first carrier, the Liaoning, left the same shipyard. Experts believe it indicates a further step toward the final delivery of the second carrier.
The domestically made Type 001A aircraft carrier left the shipyard under the assistance of multiple tug boats Wednesday afternoon, according to photos and accompanying captions released by IC, a Chinese image and photo provider, on Wednesday evening, local media reported.
Photos uploaded to the internet by local residents last week show guide lines and possibly a non-skid coating were being painted on the Type 001A's flight deck, which are considered necessary for the takeoff and landing of aircraft.
The warship is said to have already successfully tested its avionics, radar and communication systems in previous trials, so it is likely fighter jets will conduct take offs and landings this time, an anonymous military expert told the Global Times.
Electronic warfare version of the J-15 warplane and a Z-18 helicopter were spotted on board the Type 001A as it embarked on the sea trial, Hong Kong-based newspaper Wen Wei Po said Wednesday.
The Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier, was already at sea after leaving the Dalian Shipyard on Sunday. The two aircraft carriers could rendezvous in the northern Yellow Sea near Dalian, Chinese military observers said, as an area has been quarantined for a military exercise from Sunday to March 5, according to a notice the Maritime Safety Administration of China released on Friday.