Aircraft carriers are kind of cool. Anybody who’s ever seen “Top Gun” can attest to that.
The vessel has since become a symbol of the PLAN’s ascent to become the world’s largest navy, with modern, powerful and sleek warships joining the fleet at a rapid pace.
Capitalizing on the prominence of the Shandong, the carrier is now getting its own clothing line, a collection of T-shirts, jackets, a cold-weather parka, coveralls and board and basketball shorts, as China tries to increase the military’s popularity among young people.
The clothing line combines practical workwear with graphic prints. Credit: PLA Navy
A PLA Navy website paints wearing the apparel as a patriotic statement.
“Passion is the love of the aircraft carrier cause,” it says. “It’s the love of the battle position.”
For those serving on the Shandong, the clothing lets them show their pride by telling the world, “I am from the Shandong ship of the Chinese Navy,” reads a post on the website.
“This is the proudest proclamation of sailors,” it adds.
A photo shoot sees models posing on the aircraft carrier’s launch ramp. Credit: PLA Navy
Now the company has designed products “with a more youthful feel to attract the public’s interest in naval culture and to allow them to feel the positive energy the aircraft carrier has brought to the country,” the report said.
The public relations move fits into a long line of PLA efforts to promote the military among the Chinese public.
A number of the graphic T-shirts feature images of pandas. Credit: PLA Navy
But despite being commissioned more than a year and a half ago, the ship is still ramping up to operational status as crews get familiar with its systems and test them in high-seas scenarios.
And now, they’ve got some new gear to do that in.