According to Global Times, China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier embarked on its second sea trial from its dock at the Dalian Shipyard in northeast China’s Liaoning Province on the morning of August 26.
Cao Weidong, a military expert, said in an interview that except for the higher degree of testing, the contents of this sea trial are similar to the first one. The ship still needs several sea trials before being commissioned to the PLA Navy.
The first homemade aircraft carrier was designed and built by China independently, with construction beginning in November 2013. In March 2015, the ship construction in the dock began, and the ship was moved from the dry dock into the water on April 26, 2017. From May 13 to 18 in 2018, it made its maiden sea trial, with a number of equipment tested living up to expectations.
According to the report, it is a common practice that carrier's sea trails can be divided into trial trips before service and in service. Sea trials before service are generally taken for navigational performance, including hull propulsion system, command system, water tight compartment sealing, radar navigation and communications system.
In line with the general rule, the first sea trial is centered on the testing of the propulsion system, while the second sea trial focuses on such sailing performance as the propulsion system, navigation system and communications system.
According to Cao, the first sea trial of the aircraft carrier is mainly to make it "move", that is to detect whether it can be brought into operation, and there is not much demand for speed and other factors. In the subsequent sea trials, the scope of testing items should be gradually expanded to verify whether indicators such as the carrier's speed, navigation time and airworthiness can meet the design standards, or whether the ship can sail and function normally under adverse sea conditions.
In addition, the focus of the second sea trail should also include the detection of radar and communications facilities, while the testing of missiles, guns and other weapons and equipment will not be implemented so early. In a word, “the contents of the second and the first sea trials are similar, only with a higher degree of testing for the second.”
Recently, in view of the presence of J-15 carrier-borne fighter jet and full-size models of Z-18, Z-9 multi-purpose helicopters on the domestic-made carrier, some media believe that the landing practice of carrier-borne aircraft will be carried out in the upcoming second sea trial.
Cao believes that aircraft models onboard should be used for dispatch training. Meanwhile, it is necessary to use the full-scale models to check whether the elevators and other equipment can operate normally, and see how many aircraft can be accommodated by the aircraft carrier. In addition, the landing practice for carrier-borne aircraft can only be carried out after all the testing items are completed and qualified.
Speaking about when the domestically built aircraft carrier could be commissioned to the PLA Navy, Cao stated that the sea trial of aircraft carriers is a progressive process, usually requiring a dozen times to complete. If all the sea trials of the first domestically built aircraft carrier go smoothly, then after 5 to 8 trial trips, all the instruments inspection can be completed in about half a year.
Disclaimer: The authors are Qiu Yue and Zhang Lingbo, reporters with the Global Times. The article is translated from Chinese into English by the China Military online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are those of the authors from the Global Times and do not reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn. Chinamil.com.cn does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. If the article carries photographs or images, we do not vouch for their authenticity.