Chinese aircraft carrier nears completion

August 2nd, 2011 - 7:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Shanghai, Aug 2 (IANS) China’s first aircraft carrier is close to completion and its sea trials will begin this month, an official said.

The scaffolding has been removed from Varyag, the vessel bought from Ukraine in 1998 and which is currently being fitted out at a shipyard in Dalian in northeast China’s Liaoning province, Shanghai Daily cited the Oriental Morning Post as reporting.

Over 200 naval soldiers were seen forming ranks on the ship and they left after 30 minutes, the media report said.

This was an indication that the carrier’s maiden voyage would be soon, said an official.

Fifty-year-old Li Xiaoyan, a senior colonel in the Chinese Navy, will command the ship, the official added.

Cao Weidong, a researcher with the PLA Navy’s Academic Research Institute, said the aircraft carrier was a conventionally powered medium-sized warship that would be fitted with Chinese engines, aircraft, radar and other hardware.

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