Helicopter maneuvers suggest China's new aircraft carrier ready for sea trials

Updated 2018-05-07 09:15:03

The guidance system on helicopters on China's second aircraft carrier, also the first home-made one, functions well and the efficiency of transporting troops between two aircraft carriers may be enhanced, a Chinese military expert said in response to reports on Sunday.

The Changhe Z-18 helicopter took off from China's first home-grown aircraft carrier in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province on Saturday then returned and landed five minutes later.

Photographs of the chopper in action have been circulating on Chinese social media since Saturday.

The helicopters' guidance system obviously works well and the helicopters can be used if an emergency occurs during sea trials, Li Jie, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Li also said that helicopters could also enhance the efficiency of transporting troops between China's first aircraft carrier the Liaoning, and the second, as yet unnamed one.

The report prompted online speculation that the second aircraft carrier will soon enter sea trials, especially after the Liaoning Maritime Safety Administration announced that the Bohai Strait and an area north of the Yellow Sea would be cordoned off from Friday until May 11 for military activities. The areas are close to the shipyard where the new aircraft carrier was built.

Li said that the building of China's first home-made aircraft carrier has gone well according to information released online.

"Even if there are some problems, it is quite normal since there are 700 million to 800 million parts on an aircraft carrier," Li said. Whether the aircraft carrier will return to the shipyard before the sea trials is an important index of its quality, he noted.

The aircraft carrier is expected to be delivered to the People's Liberation Army Navy soon once the sea trials are done, another military expert told the Global Times. Successful sea trials will show that China has stepped forward in national defense technology, said the expert, who asked not to be named.

China will have two aircraft carrier strike groups in support of the PLA Navy's efforts to safeguard China's maritime interests and sovereignty as well as regional peace, he said.

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