Weaponry

China's aircraft carrier uses real weapons in drill

2016-12-16 08:53:00 (Beijing Time)         Global Times

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Several batches of J-15 carrier-based aircraft, carrying live ammunition, are performing strike exercises in a drill conducted by the Chinese Navy. (Photo/CRIENGLISH.com)

Chinese Navy Thursday revealed the details of a recent drill involving the country's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. It was the first time that the weapons used on the carrier were displayed in public since it entered service in 2012.

The drill was conducted in the Bohai Sea, involving dozens of ships and aircraft as well as several air-to-air, air-to-ship and ship-to-air missiles.

The J-15 carrier-based fighter jets carrying live ammunition also attended the drill.

Given that dozens of ships were used in this drill, the aircraft carrier was likely to be equipped with submarines, depot ships and fast combat support ships, in addition to guided missile destroyers Shenyang and Shijiazhuang, as well as two guided missile frigates Yantai and Weifang, which had been disclosed by the military, Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, told the Global Times.

Li said that the formation has not been fixed, explaining that the navy is still testing a combination of various types and numbers of ships to optimize the carrier's combat ability.

If it is short of aircraft, the carrier needs to be accompanied with more ships in air defense and countering submarine attacks, Li added.

The comprehensive drill shows enhanced capability of the Liaoning in coordinating marine and air defense, as well as anti-submarine tasks, Li said.

Currently, China operates one aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which was refitted based on an unfinished Russian-made carrier and delivered to the Chinese Navy on September 25, 2012.

The carrier's original design allows it to carry about 30 fixed-wing aircraft.

The Liaoning has conducted successful take-off and landing tests of its carrier-borne J-15 fighters, the main strike force of China's carrier group.

China will comprehensively consider the development of aircraft carriers in accordance with the needs of national defense and military building, the Ministry of National Defence spokesman Yang Yujun said in 2013.

Yang said there will surely be more carriers in future.