From K J M Varma Beijing – Mar 29 PTI
China’s first aircraft carrier is undergoing scientific testing and training exercises ahead of its commissioning in August, an official said today. “Right now, China is working on scientific testing and training exercises for the aircraft carrier platform and other new weapons according to the schedule,” Yang Yujun, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman, said. “The follow-up work will be carried out according to the progress of the activities,” state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying. It takes time for weapons and equipment to be developed from scientific research to military use, Yang said. Recent official media reports said the carrier, will be commissioned on August 1, China’s Army Day and will be deployed in the South China Sea. The yet to be named carrier, whose hull was imported from Ukraine is believed to be the first of the three being planned to be acquired by the Chinese navy. Photographs posted online have shown aircraft and helicopters landing on the deck of the carrier in the port of Dalian in northeast China. Significantly China will be deploying the J-15 fighters, stated to be home made variant of Russia’s Su-33, to operate from the carrier. The vessel will be capable of carrying around 30 fighters and helicopters and carry a crew of around 2,000. The Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier was bought from Ukraine in 1998 as an empty shell and has been refitted for its role as a research and training platform. China claims all weapons and radar systems and other equipment on board were made locally.