Sunday, July 03, 2011

Varyag sits tight despite rumors of first sea trial

For mechanical reasons or fears the sea trial would complicate an already tense situation in the South China Sea, Chinas first aircraft carrier missed the CCP celebrations on Friday

The much-anticipated first sea trial of Chinas refurbished aircraft carrier Varyag has been postponed until August at the earliest because unspecified mechanical problems, according to Chinese media.

Earlier reports had said the Kuznetsov-class carrier would go to sea on 1 July to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. However, an unnamed Chinese military official told Hong Kong media that certain parts and components of the 60,000-ton, Ukrainian-built ship needed repair and maintenance. 

There is also speculation that ongoing tensions in the South China Sea were behind the decision to postpone the launch, in case the dispute involving China, Vietnam and the Philippines was exacerbated.

My article, published on July 1 in Janes Defence Weekly, continues here (subscription required).

1 comment:

Michael Le Houllier said...

China perhaps underestimated the negative reaction that their recent activities in the SCS would cause, not only in Manila and Hanoi, but also in Washington. This may simply be a move to quell some of the fears. But, as you know, we need to keep an eye on the Chinese and hold them accountable.