Just days after transiting the Taiwan Strait, China’s newest aircraft carrier, the Type 001A, was spotted by satellites moored at pier on Hainan Island, on the northern coast of the South China Sea. The ship is anticipated to join the fleet before the end of the year.
New photos released by private satellite imaging firm Maxar Technologies show China’s Type 001A aircraft carrier docked alone at Hainan’s Yulin Naval Base with a flight deck full of aircraft ready to go. The ship embarked from Dalian on its latest sea trials on November 14, which the People’s Liberation Army Navy undoubted hopes will be the ship’s last round of tests.
The images show seven Shenyang J-15 fighter jets on the flight deck, as well as four Changhe Z-18 helicopters with their blades folded and stowed in a travel posture.
However, it wasn’t just US intelligence-linked satellite firms that noticed the big warship near Hainan: when the PLAN parked the Type 001A just off the coast, vacationers at the beach resorts in Sanya noticed, too, posting photos and videos on social media earlier this week.
The Type 001A, China’s first indigenously produced aircraft carrier, was expected to join the fleet earlier this year, but encountered “teething issues” requiring more testing before being accepted by the PLAN for service.
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