The Liaoning held a flag-raising ceremony on the afternoon of 23SEPT12 in an indication that the day for its official commissioning was fast approaching. The China Defense Mashup blog had this to say:
The ceremony came as tensions with Japan rose over the Diaoyu Islands.
“China will have more variable ways, both strong and soft, to solve the disputes in the East and South China seas,” Qiao Liang, an air force major general, said yesterday.
Li Jie, a researcher with the China Navy Military Academy, also said the aircraft carrier would play an important role in China’s handling of island disputes and safeguarding its maritime interests.
China’s newly developed 052D missile destroyers will be the most suitable company for the aircraft carrier, said Hu Siyuan, a professor with the National Defense University PLA China.
The 160-meter-long destroyer is equipped with 130 millimeter caliber cannon and has two vertical launch systems to set off Redflag-9B missiles.
Hu said the destroyer is similar to the US Aegis-level destroyers in fighting ability and more powerful than the Japanese navy’s major warships.
Meanwhile, the Jiang Kai-II frigate which has a helicopter pad, may also join the carrier fleet. The No. 88 ship that accompanied the carrier during its sea trials is expected to be its depot ship.
China’s J-15 fighters that analysts say are match for US F-18 Hornet fighters would probably be used on the carrier. Many photographs have been published that show the plane on the carrier’s deck.
For an interesting take on the possible J-15 Flanker, check out Flight Global’s the Dew Line here.