The PRC has taken the ex-Varyag to sea for trials:
The carrier “left its shipyard in Dalian Port in northeast Liaoning province Wednesday morning to start its first sea trial,” said the official Xinhua news agency, describing the trip as only a tentative trial run for the unfinished ship.
“Military sources said that the first sea trial was in line with the schedule of the carrier refitting project and would not take a long time,” the agency said.
The aircraft carrier, which is about 300 meters (984 feet) long, plowed through fog and sounded its horn three times as it left the dock, Xinhua said on its military news microblog.
In an interview published this week, Chinese navy Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo said his country intended to build an air carrier group, but the task would be long and difficult.
“The aircraft carriers will form a very strong battle group,” Yin told the China Economic Weekly. “But the construction and functional demands of an aircraft carrier are extremely complex,” he told the magazine.
Training crew and, eventually, pilots for the carriers was a big challenge, said Yin.
In possibly related news, Taiwan had a little revelation of its own:
Taiwan is hailing its most advanced missile as “an aircraft carrier killer” on the same day that China began sea trials of it first aircraft carrier.
During the preview for a defense exhibition Wednesday, Taiwan brandished the indigenous Hsiung Feng III missile against the backdrop of a billboard depicting a missile-riddled aircraft carrier.
The billboard bore the words: “Aircraft carrier killer.”
That probably read better in Taipei than Beijing, although a June test of the system revealed that more work is left to be done.