China's aircraft carrier sets off on longest sea trials

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China's aircraft carrier has set out from Dalian in the northeastern province of Liaoning on sea trials that will last 25 days, the longest yet, and experts say domestic J-15 fighters may be involved in landing and takeoff exercises.

China's aircraft carrier [file photo] 

An area on the north Bohai Sea region is out of bounds to civilian boats until the end of the month.

"The longest sea trials indicate the aircraft carrier has finished the first step of tests on the ship itself and is beginning tests of aircraft landing and takeoff," military analyst Yin Zhuo, a retired major general, said yesterday.

The nation's first carrier, refitted from former Ukraine vessel Varyag, left port on August 10 last year for its first sea trials and returned four days later for further refurbishment.

The vessel's longest sea trials to date have lasted 16 days.

Military experts believe the carrier will be commissioned next month on China's Army Day, August 1, but say there still seems much to be done.

It will take a long time for Chinese fighter pilots to train to land on the aircraft carrier, which is the most difficult step during training, said Hu Siyuan, a professor with the National Defense University PLA China.

"The pilots have to use the best direction, height and speed to land on the 60-meter-wide aircraft carrier and also need to prepare to abort the landing and ascend again for any emergency, which are great challenges mentally and physically," Hu said.

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