Beijing, Feb 21 (IANS) China is close to completing construction of its second aircraft carrier, which will begin service by 2020, a media report said on Tuesday.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's Type 001A class aircraft carrier's scaffold has been removed and red undercoat has been painted below the ship's waterline in Dalian,
Liaoning province, according to experts. A launching ceremony will soon be held.
"Unlike the Liaoning (Type 001), China's first aircraft carrier, a refitted ship built by Ukraine (under the former Soviet Union), the 001A is China-built, and its design, combat capability and technologies will be much more advanced," Song Zhongping, a military expert, told the Global Times.
"One key difference is the design will be more 'humanised,' which means all personnel on the carrier will enjoy a more comfortable and modern environment," Song said.
It means all weapons and equipment, including the radar system, air defence system and communications system will be outfitted on the carrier. After this, the carrier and aircraft on it will be tested, and then the carrier will be ready to serve, Song said.
A large amount of work remains to be done on the carrier's outfitting stage after it is launched, presumably sometime this year, said Li Jie, a naval military expert.
"It will take about one to two years to carry out functional debugging of its devices, weapons and equipment. The new aircraft carrier can begin sea trials by early 2019."
On December 31, 2015, the Chinese Defence Ministry formally announced the construction of the 001A.