China's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, arrived in its home port in Qingdao this week after sailing out of the Dalian shipyard in Liaoning province where it underwent upgrades. The ship is rebuilt on the hulk of the 1980s-vintage Soviet-Ukrainian Riga. Chinese officials discuss the navy as eventually based on three carrier battle groups, and a nuclear-powered carrier is not discounted. "The Liaoning will focus on training exercises with its escort ships, and it will take at least two to three years before China's first carrier battle group obtains full combat capability," Zhang Junshe from the People's Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute told The China Daily. "The next phase of training will also prioritize exercises for carrier-based aircraft, including night operations and combat capabilities.... Ideally each of the navy's three fleets should have at least one port that can accommodate their future aircraft carriers."
China's New Aircraft Carrier Arrives at Home Base
UPDATED 6:42 AM EST, February 28, 2013