The Shandong-led Second Chinese Aircraft Carrier Group concluded its first known operational deployment of the year in the South China Sea, almost immediately after its sister ship Liaoning crossed the waters with its escort group there. at one month.
Full details of the carrier battle group ships remain unknown. The last exercise focused on communications, maneuvering, coordination and field training, said Lead Captain Gao Xiucheng, a spokesperson for the PLA navy, on May 2.
Gao said that these exercises are part of a series of regular exercises and are fully legitimate and legal. These exercises would enhance the service’s experience with the carrier fleet to defend China’s sovereignty, security and development interests as well as regional peace and stability.
We hope the outside world can see [the Shandongs exercise] objectively and rationally. The PLA Navy will continue to hold similar exercises regularly as per plan going forward, Gao said, referring to international concerns over China’s growing aggression in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean.
Shandong aircraft carrier
According to observers, this is the first known public deployment from Shandong in 2021. The Shandong was commissioned in December 2019 from Sanya, Hainan by President Xi Jinping, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Interestingly, Shandong got its initial operational clearance last year in October.
Earlier in August 2020, tensions climbing in the region when a US U-2 spy plane flew over the Yellow Sea while Shandong was conducting live fire exercises and the area was declared a no-fly zone.
Shandong is PLA Navys’ second aircraft carrier after Liaoning and the first to be built locally. It was originally designated as Type 001A air carrier during development, but was finalized as Type 002 at the time of commissioning.
The design of the carriers is heavily based on the Liaoning and uses conventional oil-fired boilers driving eight steam turbines derived from the Soviet-designed units installed on the first.
It carries a fleet of Shenyang J-15 fighter jets, which are believed to be a derivative of the Russian SU-33 fighter jets based on the bridge. However, the Russian Navy replaced its fleet of Su-33s with the MiG-29-K in 2009, an aircraft that the Shandongs likely rival INS Vikramaditya also operates.
For air operations, the carrier uses the traditional STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) configuration. The ski jump has an angle of 12 instead of 14 on Liaoning, which is considered the ideal angle to launch the J-15 fighter.
Liaoning made headlines earlier in April when it sailed in international waters near Japan’s Miyako Strait, with its carrier group consisting of an 055 Nanchang-class stealth guided missile destroyer, from two Type 052D Chengdu and Taiyuan destroyers, the Type 054A Huanggang frigate and the Type 901 Hulunhu full supply vessel.
Japanese and US forces reacted strongly and sent warships and maritime patrol planes to follow the Chinese fleet.
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