China says its first aircraft carrier is now ‘combat ready’

The Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning cruises for a test in the sea in May 2012. | AP

 

China’s first aircraft carrier is now ready for combat, state media said Tuesday, a key breakthrough as the Asian giant seeks to flex its naval muscle in waters far beyond its shores.

The Liaoning carrier, which had previously been portrayed in Chinese media as a surface platform for tests and training, has now “formally been described as having a real combat capacity,” the state-run Global Times said.

The report cited the the Liaoning’s political commissar, Li Dongyou, as saying that the carrier is “constantly prepared for war.”

“As a military force, we are always prepared for war and our combat capacity also needs to be tested by war,” Li said. “At this moment, we are doing our best to promote our strength and use it to prevent war, and are prepared for actual combat at any time.”

The report, and a selection of training photos displayed on official Chinese military websites, appeared to indicate that the ship had taken on its full accompaniment of aircraft.

The Liaoning, which was purchased as an incomplete Soviet-made hull from Ukraine in 1998, was commissioned in 2012.

China is also in the process of constructing its first indigenously built carrier, which the Defense Ministry said late last month was proceeding smoothly, with the hull having already been assembled.

Full article: China says its first aircraft carrier is now ‘combat ready’ (The Japan Times)

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