China's second aircraft carrier, the Shandong is being prepared for night take off and landing exercises.
Entry to several regions in the South China Sea is prohibited due to military exercises from Tuesday to January 7, and observers speculated the Shandong could be involved.
The Shandong recently underwent a series of test exercises in the Bohai Sea, focusing on training objectives including departing port at night, sailing through narrow water channels, maritime search and rescue and damage management, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Monday.
The night exercises show how quick the Shandong's progress is to gain round-the-clock combat capability, "It won't be long before we see night fighter jet takeoff and landing exercises on the Shandong," an unnamed expert was quoted as saying by Global Times.
CCTV said that the night training was held in the Bohai Sea, and this means it likely took place before December 20, when the Shandong set out from Dalian Shipyard by the Bohai Sea, sailed through the Taiwan Straits and entered the South China Sea.
China currently has J-15 fighter jets, especially made for aircraft carrier operations which will operate off the Shandong. The J-15 has several variants including one for electronic warfare. The Shandong can carry a complement of fighters, transport aircraft, helicopters and drones.