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China's 2nd aircraft carrier will be 'larger'

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-04-24 07:34

BEIJING - A senior officer with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy said on Tuesday that "China will have more than one aircraft carrier."

Song Xue, deputy chief of staff of the PLA Navy, told foreign military attaches at a ceremony to celebrate the Navy's 64th founding anniversary in Beijing, "The next aircraft carrier we need will be larger and carry more fighters."

However, Song said some foreign media reports on China's building new aircraft carriers in Shanghai were not accurate.

Currently, China operates one aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which was refitted based on a Russian-made unfinished carrier and delivered to the Navy on Sept 25, 2012. The PLA Navy was founded on April 23, 1949.

Song, a Real Admiral of the Navy, said the Liaoning does not belong to any of the Navy's three fleets, but under direct command and management of the Navy's headquarters.

Zhang Zheng, the Liaoning's Captain, told foreign military attaches that his crew members have mastered independently operations of all the weapon systems on the carrier.

The Liaoning has a full displacement of more than 50,000 tonnes. The carrier's original design allows it to carry about 30 fixed-wing aircraft. Song Xue said the Navy hoped that the next carrier could be larger to load more aircraft.

He also revealed that the Navy is building naval aviation force for the Liaoning, and there will be at least two aviation regiments on one carrier, including fighters, reconnaissance aircraft, anti-submarine aircraft, electronic countermeasure (ECM) planes and rotary-wing aircraft.

The Liaoning has conducted successful take-off and landing tests of its carrier-borne J-15 fighters, the main striking force of China's carrier group.

Song said the J-15 still needs a lot more trial tests before being operational on the carrier, and there will be more J-15 fighters as the Navy conducts more test flights.

The officer said China's future carrier group will be composed of carrier, destroyers, frigates, submarines and supply ship.

According to Song, more than one thousand Chinese enterprises have participated in the construction and refitting work of the Liaoning.

The officer also promised that the Navy will invite foreign military attaches to visit the Liaoning.

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