China's Aircraft Carrier to Have a Provincial Name
   2012-08-09 04:44:10    Shanghai Daily      Web Editor: Zhang

This undated file photo shows China's first carrier, refitted from former Ukraine vessel Varyag, berths at a port in Northeast China's city of Dalian. [File Photo: Xinhua]

China's first aircraft carrier will be commissioned by the end of the year and is very likely to be named after one of China's provinces, a military expert said Wednesday.

All the necessary facilities have been installed on the carrier through the nine sea trials since last August, Li Jie, a researcher of the China Navy Military Academy, said in an interview carried on the People's Daily website.

China has three major naval forces - the East China Sea, North China Sea and South China Sea fleets. Many speculated the aircraft carrier will join the South China Sea fleet to stabilize the situation in tension there, but Li said the vessel could be commissioned in different fleets.

However, the aircraft carrier will be mainly used for training and experiments, he said.

The carrier completed its ninth sea trial last month, the longest yet, and returned to the Port of Dalian in northeastern Liaoning Province.

The sea trials have been running smoothly so far and attained anticipated objectives, Lin Bai, a colonel of the General Armament Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, has said.

Previously, some observers speculated that the aircraft carrier might be named after Mao Zedong, founder of the New China, or the capital Beijing, but Li said that was unlikely.

He also said China would have more than three aircraft carriers in the future.

"China has huge sea territories that include about 7,000 islands and 14,000 kilometers of coastline, so we will need at least three carriers to protect the sea resources," Li said.

The nation's first carrier, refitted from former Ukraine vessel Varyag, left port on August 10 last year for its first sea trials and since then has regularly been tested in both the Yellow and Bohai seas.

The carrier will be equipped with a defense system able to launch attacks on missiles, aircraft and approaching vessels, said Song Zhongping, a military commentator.

The carrier will also use a Chinese radar system.

China's J-15 fighters would probably be used on the carrier.Many photos have shown the plane on the carrier's deck.

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