|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Apr 26, 2017 08:37 AM EDT|
(Photo : PLAN) CNS Shandong during her launch.
China's first indigenously produced aircraft carrier will be named CNS Shandong (CV-17), according to western sources, a name this website first reported back in December 2016.
Shandong was launched today at the Dalian Shipyard of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) in glitzy ceremonies attended by the command of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Chinese president Xi Jinping, however, was absent at the launching of the Shandong.
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The highest ranking officer of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) at the launch was Gen. Fan Changlong, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) headed by Xi as Chairman, and a member of the political bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.
Also at the launch was PLAN Commander Admiral Shen Jinlong; PLAN Political Commissar Miao Hua and CSIC President Hu Wenming.
After having a bottle of champagne broken on its bow, the Shandong was slowly towed out of the dockyard and transferred to the wharf. Chinese state-run media reported the hull of this aircraft carrier has been completed and the main systems, including power supply, have been installed.
Over the remainder of this year, Shandong will debug her myriad systems; conduct a fitting-out and start mooring tests.
The Shandong's launch is the highlight of PLAN's 68th anniversary, which took place on Sunday. The Shandong should have been launched that day but tidal conditions at Dalian were inappropriate.
As reported by Chinatopix in December 2016, Shandong will become the most powerful warship in the PLAN because of its offensive airpower and the fact it will be outfitted with the most sophisticated radar system in the PLAN Surface Fleet.
Shandong will become the flagship of both the North Sea Fleet and the East Sea Fleet of the PLAN.
Shandong will carry 48 aircraft, a number larger than that of the CNS Liaoning (CV-16), China's only aircraft carrier that can take 36 aircraft. Shandong will house up to 32 Shenyang J-15 jets, a huge boost to its offensive firepower, with the other aircraft complement remaining more or less the same.
Shandong is the first aircraft carrier built entirely in China. The Liaoning was purchased from Ukraine in the late 1990s and towed to China for an extensive rebuild.
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