China's first aircraft carrier the Liaoning has been deployed for combat duty following modifications and intensive training exercises, the vessel's executive officer revealed amid the celebrations of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's 70th anniversary.
The modifications carried out since August 2018 include upgraded arresting cables that will provide a larger buffer capacity when aircraft lands and also extends the cables' life, China Central Television (CCTV) reported. There is a new arresting net stand, which raises a safety net across the flight deck helping halt a landing aircraft in case of emergency.The superstructure received a boost to its anti-jamming capability, and the flight control tower was enlarged so the crew members have more space and a better view, Global Times reported.
The propulsion system and power system also had several optimizations and improvements and they are now more stable and efficient, according to the report. Other places, including the flight deck and pipeline system, also saw improvements.
Lu Qiangqiang, an executive officer of the Liaoning, told CCTV that the modifications were made thanks to the experiences they had gathered during previous training exercises and trials."These changes will definitely help us make the best of the ship, improve our training protocols and boost our combat capability even further," Lu said.
"The Liaoning is shifting from a training and test ship to a combat ship. I believe this process is going faster and faster, and we will achieve our goal very soon," Lu said. The experiences gained from the Liaoning carrier will also be used on China's new aircraft carriers, an anonymous military expert told the Global Times on Wednesday.
The Liaoning is a scrapped Ukrainian aircraft carrier bought by a Chinese company under mysterious circumstances for a paltry sum of $8 million. It was extensively modernized for use as a training ship and as forerunner to China’s aircraft carrier program.