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China's aircraft carrier undergoes combat training exercise


The Liaoning aircraft carrier. An MoD photo

BEIJING (BNS): China's sole aircraft carrier Liaoning has undergone comprehensive combat training exercise in the South China Sea to validate its combat capability, the PLA Navy (PLAN) has said.

The refurbished aircraft carrier was involved in more than 100 tests and training tasks which began on December 5.

"The Liaoning successfully performed several tests of the combat system today and organised for the first time comprehensive combat training," the China Daily reported on Monday quoting a statement from the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

"Through this operation, we tested the carrier's combat capability and tried the performance of its propulsion and seaworthiness," it said.

The warship left its homeport of Qingdao, Shandong province, on Nov 26 and anchored at a naval base in Sanya, Hainan province, three days later. On Dec 5, it set out on the training mission.

This was also the first long distance training voyage undertaken by the carrier, the Navy said.

The training mission involved a large number of tests, rigorous standards, complicated circumstances as well as collaboration with multiple military units. The warship's sailing speed in deep waters and its structure's resistance to stress were also put to test during the mission.

The combat prowess of the aircraft carrier was tested by checking the stability of its weapons and equipment. The combat departments also practiced exercises to defend the warship from incoming hostile aircraft, ships and submarines, the Navy said.

Several types of aircraft, combat ships and submarines were dispatched to cooperate with the carrier during the mission, which simulates real combat situations, Senior Captain Zhang Zheng, captain of the Liaoning, was quoted as saying.

China commissioned the Ukraine-built aircraft carrier on September 25, 2012 and has been conducting training exercises onboard since then.

In September this year, the 57,000-ton warship completed several crucial tests during three-month voyage which included landing and takeoff by various aircraft, including the J-15 carrier-borne fighter.

The ship is still in the test and exercise stage, another PLAN official said.

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