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Backgrounder: Aircraft carriers
BEIJING, July 28 (Xinhuanet) – What will be the name of China's first Aircraft Carrier? Who will be captain? When will it be tested in the water? What will the functions of the Aircraft Carrier be? Ideas about the very first aircraft carrier have never ceased to be speculated on since the proposal was first put forward. Every detail could result in an extremely enthusiastic interpretation from the media and military zealots. We try to straighten out all these ideas.
Question 1: When will the aircraft carrier be used?
As the adaptation of “Varyag” comes to an end, professional terms like “launching”, “sea trial” and “outfitting” become hot words. “Launching on July 1st”, “Sea trial on August 1st” and “trial voyage within this year” have all become conjectures of the media. The launching process is completed in constructing docks, and it takes 3 years for large American aircraft carriers to go from being constructed to launching.
The ship can be launched after the welding of the hull is completed. This phrase of “Varyag” had been completed while Ukraine was constructing it, therefore it has no problems in being launched. After the ship is launched, ship-borne weapons system and electronic devices will be installed, then comes the process of “sea trials”. Sea trials are just like people taking a trial run of their new cars. During the sea trial period, aircraft carriers would run a certain distance within the offshore region in an effort to test systems like the engines.
After that it will return to the port for a long period for the long “outfitting”process, that is to make a comprehensive test and adjustment of every system. Sea trials and outfitting always take a long time, the newest “Nimitz”-class carriers of the US Navy only took 2 years from sea trials to outfitting, but the French “Charles de Gaulle” took five years to finish the process.
Question 2: What is the function of aircraft carrier?
As China's first aircraft carrier, whether “Varyag” will be the “Battle ship” or the "Training ship” remains the top concern. Military professors think, “Varyag” developed by China is an adaptation' not a creation. Functionally speaking, “Varyag” plays a significant role in the exploration and test of China's Aircraft Carrier. First it solves the problem of “possession or lacking”, and for the formation of fighting capacity, it still takes long time to achieve it. “Varyag” may only be a starter, but many future miracles are out there to be witnessed.
Question 3: What's the kind of shipborne aircraft on "Varyag"?
Some media suspect that, China's first aircraft carrier will be carrying the aircraft “F-15”. The area of the wings are enlarged in comparison with“F-15”, the design of the folded wings and shorter tail cone is also adopted. The nose landing gear resorts to the two-wheel design. In addition, China's navy already possesses Ka-28 and Ka-31 helicopters, they can also be geared onto aircraft carriers. The Chinese Navy tends to have “Fighter trainer-9” aircraft which are installed with tail hooks. They are used to train the pilots of shipborne aircraft. There is also possibility of adopted“F-10” getting on board.