South China Sea row: China’s first aircraft carrier conducts maiden live-fire drills

A live-fire drill using an aircraft carrier is seen carried out in the Bohai sea, China, December 14, 2016. Picture taken December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING: China’s first aircraft carrier battle group has carried out its maiden live-fire exercises on a massive scale, in a show of strength amid increasing tensions with the US+ over the South China Sea and Taiwan.

Aircraft carrier ‘Liaoning’ conducted the mammoth drills with live ammunition in the Bohai Sea involving dozens of ships and aircraft as well as several air-to-air, air-to-ship and ship-to-air missiles, the PLA Navy said in a statement.

The exercise was aimed at testing combination of various types and numbers of ships to optimise the carrier’s combat ability, the navy said.

The carrier, destroyers and frigates carried out exercises covering air interception, sea-based attacks and air-defense as well as reconnaissance, early warning and anti-missile systems.

The carrier’s original design allows it to carry about 30 fixed-wing aircraft.

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