China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier battle group has completed a series of sea trials in the South China Sea and returned to a People’s Liberation Army’s naval base in Qingdao, in the Shandong province of China.
The Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, left its home port Qingdao on 26 November 2013.
The aircraft carrier was anchored at a naval base in Sanya, Hainan province, it started mission training on 5 December 2013 and carried out tests as well as training exercises off the coast of Hainan Island for 37 days.
The Liaoning’s sea trials were performed along with aircraft, naval vessels and submarines.
Xinhua reports the Chinese navy as saying in a statement, that during the mission, the Liaoning conducted over 100 drills and training exercises.
"The drills tested the structure’s stress resistance, sailing speeds in deep water, navigational capabilities and weapons and equipment reliability," the statement said.
The statement further said the carrier completed its first comprehensive combat training during the mission and performed a formation drill with other Chinese ships and submarines in the battle group, another first for the Chinese navy.
The Liaoning was supported by the navy’s two missile destroyers, the Shenyang and Shijiazhuang, and two missile frigates, the Yantai and Weifang, which participated in the mission.
The use of four ships led military observers to speculate that the navy’s carrier battle group has taken shape with the Liaoning as its core, according to the news agency.