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China, David Virgil Dafinoiu, Global Regions, Intelligence

China’s first aircraft carrier sets sail on maiden voyage

China’s first aircraft carrier, originally built in the Soviet Union, left its shipyard in northeastern Liaoning province early on Wednesday for its first sea trial, Xinhua said.

The ship’s maiden voyage will be short, the news agency quoted military sources as saying. After returning from the trial, the aircraft carrier will continue refit and test work, the sources said.

China bought the Admiral Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier, named Varyag by the Soviets, from Ukraine for $20 million in 1998. Before being sold, the ship was disarmed and its engines were removed.

The 1,000-feet vessel is designed to carry 26 planes and 24 helicopters and be equipped with Soviet-designed AK-630 and CADS-N-1 Kashtan close-in weapon systems, P-700 Granit anti-ship cruise missiles, Tor short-range surface-to-air missile systems and UDAV-1 anti-submarine weapon systems.


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