China's first domestically made aircraft carrier Type 001A is expected to undergo a third sea trial after military exercises were announced in seas near the city of Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province.
The military exercises are to be conducted from last Friday to this Friday in the Bohai Straits and northern Yellow Sea, reads a notice released on Thursday by China's Maritime Safety Administration. Vessels are prohibited from entering the designated area, it said.
According to the coordinates provided by the administration, the drill will cover a "large sea area" close to Dalian where the Type 001A is moored leading Chinese military fans to speculate that the Type 001A will undergo its third sea trial.
"The exact date for a sea trial of an aircraft carrier is confidential. However, such a sea trial would indeed need a large prohibited area because of the size of the carrier," Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Recent photos show the Type 001A equipped with four arresting cables following its second sea trial in August. Some speculate the carrier may let fighter jets take off and land during a potential third sea trial.
In addition to arresting cables which are basic to take-off and landing of fighter jets on an aircraft carrier, the Type 001A must also test its radar, communication, navigation and optical landing systems, Wei said, before it conducts high-difficulty tests like take-off and landing.
The carrier is expected to further experiment with its power and transmission systems, testing parameters like maximum speed and minimum turning radius.
It is also likely to conduct live-fire target practices with its close-in rapid-fire cannons and short-range air defense missiles, Wei said.
Chinese military observers said that it may take only about a year for the Type 001A to be delivered to the People's Liberation Army Navy thanks to the knowledge gained from the launch of the country's first carrier Liaoning.