Chinese PLA Navy Shandong Type 001A aircraft carrier conducts sea trials
During a press conference that was held on Friday May 29, 2020, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, has announced that the Chinese Navy (PLA People's Liberation Armed Forces) is conducting sea trials for aircraft carrier Type 001A Shandong in accordance with the arrangement of the annual trial plan, said Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson of China Mod (Ministry of Defense).
China's first indigenously-built aircraft carrier, the Type 001A Shandong left the Dalian Shipyard in northeast China's Liaoning Province for military missions at sea on May 25. This is its maiden voyage for training since commissioned five months ago, marking that the Shandong has primarily formed combat effectiveness.
The training is to test the performance of weapons and equipment and improve the level of aircraft carrier training, so as to further enhance the troops' ability to perform missions and tasks, Senior Colonel Ren said.
The Shandong Type 001A is a first-generation Chinese aircraft carrier that was launched on 26 April 2017 for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It is the second aircraft carrier built by the Chinese naval defense industry after the completion of Liaoning.
China’s first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, entered service in 2012. China’s second aircraft carrier (and its first fully indigenously built carrier), Shandong Type 001A, entered service on December 17, 2019.
The Shandong is a modified version of the Liaoning design that incorporates some design improvements, including features that reportedly will permit it to embark and operate a larger air wing of 40 aircraft that includes 36 fighters. Its displacement is estimated at 66,000 to 70,000 tons.
China’s primary carrier-based fighter aircraft is the J-15 or Flying Shark, an aircraft derived from the Russian Su-33 Flanker aircraft design that can operate from carriers equipped with a ski ramp rather than catapults. China reportedly plans to develop a carrier-capable variant of its J-20 fifth-generation stealth fighter and/or a carrier-capable variant of its FC-31 fifth-generation stealth fighter to complement or succeed the J-15 on catapult-equipped Chinese carriers. China reportedly is also developing a carrier-based stealth drone aircraft.