Symbolism and signaling are both behind the decision to take the ‘Varyag’ on its first venture away from port
After years of refurbishing in Dalian, the Soviet-era Varyag will embark on its first sea trial on July 1 to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party — and to send a signal to neighboring states amid rising tensions in the South China Sea. Chinese officials, however, say a number of variables, including bad weather, could force a rescheduling.
As to the official launch of the yet-to-be named carrier (“Shi Lang” is just one of many options, officials claim), we’ll have to wait until Oct. 1, 2012, with a solid year of work remaining to be completed on weapons systems and other devices.
My article, published today in Jane’s Defence Weekly, continues here.