More aircraft carriers likely in China

More aircraft carriers likely in China
China's first aircraft carrier, a former Soviet carrier called the Varyag, docked after its handover to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) navy in Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning province.

BEIJING - It's been less than a year since the Liaoning, the Chinese navy's first aircraft carrier, was put into active service, but a Defence Ministry spokesman is promising that there will be more carriers in the future.

On Thursday, Colonel Yang Yujun said at a news conference that China will consider developing aircraft carriers in accordance with its national defence needs.

Yang made the comment in response to media reports that China is, for the first time, domestically developing an aircraft carrier.

The Liaoning is a retrofitted former Soviet Union carrier commissioned in the People's Liberation Army navy on Sept 25. It can carry about 30 fixed-wing aircraft.

Takeoff and landing tests of J-15 fighters, the navy's main strike force, from the Liaoning have thus far been successful. The carrier has also completed three training missions this year.

"How many carriers the Chinese military will build depends on its naval strategy and the country's economy," said Wen Bing, a senior researcher of the PLA Academy of Military Sciences.

"China is still exploring how to effectively develop and use its carrier battle group, so it is too early to predict the number of carriers in the future."

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