It is a symbolic departure as much as anything, but China’s first aircraft carrier has sailed from its berth in Dalian for the first time formally under the PLA-Navy’s command. The vessel, a converted half-built Soviet-era carrier, the Varyag, was handed over to the Navy and renamed the Liaoning on September 25. Xinhua reports it slipped out of port on Friday evening.
Xinhua also reports that new pictures show a J-15 carrier-based fighter aircraft practicing take-off and landing on the craft, though the one that Xinhua publishes with its report was taken in May during another sea trial. We assume from this that the purpose of this voyage would be to start the serious business of training carrier pilots in real conditions.