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Chinese carrier is a 'city at sea' sans aircraft

Posted on Oct 02, 06:54PM | IANS

With restaurants, bars, post office, and even a supermarket, China's first aircraft carrier -- the Liaoning -- is literally like a "city at sea". But the carrier has no aircraft.

With 10 decks below the main deck, and nine levels of island-style superstructures above the main deck, the Liaoning looks like some giant 20-storey building, reported People's Daily.

The aircraft carrier measures over 300 metres in length and over 70 metres in width. The distance from the keel, which is shaped like a bird's breastbone, to the top of the mainmast is over 60 metres.

But the carrier has no aircraft on the flight deck, though the Liaoning is fully equipped for aircraft takeoff and landing.

Modern carrier-based aircraft take off in mainly three ways -- catapult assisted takeoff, ski-jump takeoff, and vertical takeoff. The Liaoning can carry fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters as designed.

According to military expert Li Li, in the short term the Liaoning is to be mainly used for scientific research and the training of aircraft carrier pilots.

Li said a new generation of carrier pilots and military officers would be trained on the Liaoning, China's first ever aircraft carrier.