After China’s second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, embarked on a training voyage in the Bohai Sea last week, the country’s first carrier, the Liaoning, was spotted leaving its base and sailing in the Yellow Sea during the weekend. This was the first time known to the general public that China had two active aircraft carriers out at sea for apparent simultaneous exercises.
With the Shandong gradually gaining combat capability and the two carriers training together, China will eventually be capable of deploying a dual carrier combat group, a tactic useful in high-intensity warfare — including possible reunification-by-force operations on the island of Taiwan and resistance against US provocations in the South China Sea, analysts predicted on Sunday.
Citing foreign commercial satellite images, Beijing-based Modern Ships magazine reported on Saturday that the Liaoning recently set out from its base in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province for exercises.
The Liaoning was in the Yellow Sea not far from its base as of Saturday, according to foreign commercial satellite services openly accessible to the general public. Photos taken by local residents and circulated on social media also showed the Liaoning had recently embarked on a voyage.
The ship’s movement came shortly after the country’s other carrier — the Shandong — set out from a shipyard on Tuesday for military exercises in the Bohai Sea, Hong Kong-based news website wenweipo.com reported at that time.
The Shandong’s presence in the Bohai Sea was also confirmed by satellite images on Thursday.