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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

China successfully tests new aircraft carrier

RIA Novosti

16:56 31/08/2011 BEIJING, August 31 (RIA Novosti) - China's first aircraft carrier has successfully completed its maiden sea trials and returned to a shipyard for further refurbishing, the Chinese Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

The vessel, the former Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag, has been overhauled for its new role as a platform for research and naval pilot training at the Dalian shipyard in Northeast China.

"The recent sea trials of the aircraft carrier achieved the anticipated objectives," Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told a news conference in Beijing.

The Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier was 70% complete when China bought it from Ukraine for $20 million in 1998. Before being sold, the ship was disarmed and its engines were removed.

China started a total overhaul of the ship in 2005, along with the development of carrier-based aircraft.

The 1,000-feet vessel is designed to carry 26 aircraft and 24 helicopters.

Chinese military experts believe that the vessel could be commissioned by the Chinese Navy in a few years.

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