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China's first carrier can take the sea on July 1

China's first carrier can take the sea on July 1 15.04.2011
Text: China Military Power Mashup
Photo: Aircraft carrier Varyag. korabley.net
After 9 years of retrofitting, first Chinese aircraft carrier the matter of Taiwan's concern can take the sea soon.

Former Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag was purchased in 1992 at the price of about $20 mln. Repair and upgrade works are at closing stage, the carrier's hull will be painted in standard colors of Chinese Navy, reports a Chinese military-oriented website.

It is expected that the aircraft carrier will be renamed in honor of a legendary Chinese admiral Shi Lang. This ship is believed to be one of the biggest successes of current Chinese president Hu Jintao who will leave his post next year.

The ship-repair works have been held since 2002 in Dalian port. Although the hull was built in 1988 in the Soviet Union, it had not electronics, radars, antennas, powerplant, and other onboard systems.

Jane's Defence Weekly reported on Friday that the future carrier will be equipped with phased antenna radars and ship-to-air systems. This will make Chinese aircraft carrier the more independent asset than US carriers are. As is known, air/missile defense of American carriers is provided by Aegis cruisers.

As was said in the interview by China's ex-Admiral Lan Ning-li, the aircraft carrier will be stationed in the South China Sea and enter the Taiwan-adjacent regions. "This carrier will make Taiwan vulnerable to sea attacks", he said. Despite the recent media reports that the ship's reconstruction is at closing stage, many electronic systems have not been installed in the carrier so far, said Lan.

The carrier's length is 302 meters; beam is 70.5 meters; displacement is 67,000 tons; speed is 29-31 knots; air wing is 50 aircraft. Probably, the ship is to be primarily armed with Russian-made Su-33 fighters, Chinese J-10 airplanes, early warning and ASW helicopters. So far, Chinese pilots have no deck takeoff/landing experience, and will need some time till Shi Lang could put pressure upon regional theater.

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