Sunday, September 21, 2008

China Trains Carrier Pilots

China has begun training the first 50 cadets for its projected carrier fleet, according to a 19 September 2008 The Indian Express article.

The article further states that the Kiev class carrier has been named the Shilang and is being fitted with a Chinese power plant. The article states that Indian sources believe the carrier will never be fully capable of combat operations, and will only be a training platform. US sources are reported to have said the PRC cannot have "an operational, domestically-produced aircraft carrier before 2015".

Other sources such as indicate that the Varyag is considerably larger (Kuznetsov class, 58,500 ton compared to 40,400 ton)than the Kiev class. The larger Kuznetsovs can carry high performance aircraft such as the Sukhoi SU-27 instead of the V/STOL YAK-38 used by the Kievs.