Liaoning aircraft carrier

Five things to know about China aircraft carrier visit to Hong Kong

The Liaoning, China’s first carrier, will be making a port call in the city next month as part of celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the handover

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 June, 2017, 11:26am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 June, 2017, 3:14pm

The PLA’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is to visit Hong Kong to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover back to China. It is expected to make a two-day port call in Hong Kong around July 7. It will mark the most visible display of national military might in the city for 20 years. Here are some questions military enthusiasts might be asking ahead of the port call.

Will the public be allowed to visit the ship?

It is highly unlikely the public will be allowed on board.

The press or public have not been allowed on board the carrier even at its home port on the mainland.

The carrier is one of the most advanced pieces of military hardware in the PLA and it would be wary of allowing others to view what could be deemed as sensitive military information.

Will J-15 fighters be on board?

Besides seeing the aircraft carrier, close-up interaction with the most advanced fighter on board, the J-15, would also be on many people’s wish lists.

The Liaoning carries at least eight J-15 fighters, also known as the Flying Shark, which made a high-profile debut over the South China Sea in January.

Pride of PLA Navy to make port call in Hong Kong

Since 2013, these aircraft have been practising flight operations from the deck of the Liaoning.

Whether Hongkongers will have a chance to see the J-15s during the port call is still not known.

What are the carrier’s companion vessels?

The ships most likely to be escorting the carrier are the destroyers Jinan and Yinchuan and the frigate Yantai, according to the PLA.

It said a flotilla consisting of these ships set out from Qingdao in eastern China on Sunday for a training mission.

A destroyer is a fast and manoeuvrable long-endurance warship that can fight on its own or defend larger vessels against smaller, short-range attacks.

How do China’s aircraft carriers stack up against other nations?

Compared with the Jinan, the Yinchuan is newer, with a more modern radar system. Frigates are the main workhorses of most navies and tend to be a bit smaller than destroyers.

The Yantai carries medium-range air defence missiles and anti-submarine rockets.

Will the ships host any parties or recreational activities?

It’s unusual for the Chinese military to conduct recreational activities on its warships, but it has happened before with the frigate Yantai.

It hosted a get-together during a five-day goodwill visit to the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Varna in 2012.

Will souvenirs for the visit be available?

Commonly, there are various souvenirs that visitors can buy from an aircraft carrier, such as mugs, badges and hats.