A 40-year dream close to becoming reality

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 May, 2011, 12:00am


1970 China conducts a study into the feasibility of building an aircraft carrier

1980 Vice-chief of general staff Liu Huaqing boards the US carrier Kitty Hawk

1985 China buys decommissioned Australian carrier Melbourne

1986 Liu recommends having a carrier by 2000

1988 China fights a brief sea battle with Vietnam in the Spratly Islands

1994 China buys decommissioned Soviet carrier the Minsk, now a theme park in Shenzhen

1996 China buys decommissioned Soviet carrier the Kiev, now a theme park in Tianjin

1998 China buys unfinished Ukrainian carrier the Varyag

2002 The Varyag arrives in Dalian

2004 China decides to rebuild the Varyag as its first carrier

2005 Changxingdao yard in Shanghai opens

2007 Chinese warship performs joint exercise with British aircraft carrier Ark Royal at Portsmouth

2008 Dalian Naval Academy launches four-year training course for 50 pilot cadets

2009 First test flight of the J-15 by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation

2009 Concrete mock-up of carrier is spotted at a Wuhan naval research facility, with ski ramp, deck markings and island superstructure

2009 Construction of domestic carrier begins at Changxingdao

2011 Ukraine sentences a Russian to six years' imprisonment for selling carrier secrets to China

2011 Xinhua releases pictures of the Varyag docked in Dalian, painted in PLA Navy colours

2011 Spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office denies the Varyag will be renamed Shi Lang, after a Qing dynasty general who recovered Taiwan for China