China’s first aircraft carrier sets out for exercises

Beijing: A flotilla of Chinese naval ships headed by first aircraft carrier Liaoning set out for a “routine training mission” from Qingdao in east China on Sunday.

The naval formation, includes destroyers Jinan and Yinchuan, frigate Yantai and a squadron of J-15 fighter jets and helicopters, a Chinese defence ministry statement said.

The training mission, like previous ones, is expected to strengthen coordination among the vessels and improve the skills of crew and pilots in different marine region.

This is the first exercise being carried our by Liaoning, a refurbished aircraft carrier built from the hull of Soviet ship bought from Ukraine after China had launched a home-made Carrier in April this year.

The new aircraft carrier was expected to be operational by 2019. Liaoning has earlier carried out exercises in the disputed South China Sea as well as East China Sea along with its battle formation group.