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Thu, Dec 01, 2011

China Returns Its First Carrier To Sea Trials

Refitted Soviet Ship Varyag Raises Suspicions Among Neighbors

It's easy to become so focused on the amazing pace of aviation development in China that we could forget - the country is also conducting sea trials of its first aircraft carrier. The ship (pictured) is called the Varyag, and if that doesn't sound particularly Chinese, there's a reason. It's an old 300-meter-long Soviet carrier with an armored hull which was reported bought from Ukraine in 1998 without a powerplant, to be refitted.

ASD News reports the ship underwent a first set of sea trials in August, after which the Chinese Defense Ministry said it "returned to the shipyard as planned for further refitting and testing. The work has been carried out and it set sail again on November 29 to carry out relevant scientific and research experiments."

China has talked up the vessel's research role, and has tried to deflect the concerns of its neighbors about the significance of the ship's development. The carrier is seen as possible posturing in response to conflicting claims to parts of the South China Sea, which has potentially rick petroleum reserves. The deployment this month of US Marines in northern Australia is also said to be a point of contention.

FMI: www.varyagworld.com

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