As for China’s carrier-based aircraft, which remains a mystery now, Singtao quotes Xu Yong, a teacher at Air Force Command College as saying that J-15 will be the aircraft on the Liaoning. Quite a few top pilots are being trained repeatedly in operating the aircraft on the carrier to achieve accuracy in their skill. “There is a great possibility that they can achieve the goal within this year.”
According to experts, the major problem for China in building its aircraft carrier fleet is the lack of carrier-based aircraft. If that problem is resolved, China’s fleet of aircraft carriers will take shape sooner.
Of course, J-15 is only the fighter required by carriers. Carrier-based airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft are indispensable. There was report that for its carrier China has developed one based on its Y-7 transport aircraft, but we believe there have to be further tests on the Liaoning for further modification to really meet the requirements.
Singtao says, according to Air Major General Qiao Liang, there have to be several stages of development for the Liaoning to really have combat strength, including training of various service personnel to fully master their work skill, the coordination between the ship and its air force personnel, the formation of a carrier combat group with destroyers, frigates and submarines, and the integrated combat training of the entire group including the AEW&C aircraft. Qiao expects that 3 to 7 years are necessary to complete those stages of development.
- Chinese navy gets first aircraft carrier (chinadailymail.com)
- Zhang Zheng, commander of China’s first aircraft carrier (wantchinatimes.com)
- China commissions first aircraft carrier Liaoning (thehindu.com)