She’s out to sea again. Yup, China’s first aircraft carrier, the ex-Soviet Varyag, left the port of Dalian at 11:30 local time today. Her maiden cruise — if you can even call it that — happened in August when photos surfaced showing her on open water accompanied by numerous tugs. Click through the jump to see the photos of her putting to sea today. We also included some photos from last week showing a Z-8 (bascially a French-designed Super Frelon) helicopter on her flight deck.
Meanwhile, India — Asia’s other carrier-equipped, major-power-in-the-making — is having some minor trouble fielding its 21st Century flattop the INS Vikraant, also known as the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC).
India may still have a leg up on China in this area; it’s been sailing ex-British carriers for decades and will recommission a former Soviet carrier soon, China is going to use the ageing, ex-Varyag to learn carrier ops.
As the name implies, the IAC is India’s effort to design and build a 21st Century carrier — something the Chinese aren’t expected to do for several more years, though there are reports that China has two of its own carriers under construction.
From last week:
Images via China Defense Blog and Alert5.