In my post yesterday, I provided official Chinese media Xinhua’s photos of a J-15 fighter taking off from and landing on China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier.
China’s official television station CCTV gave footage of the taking-off and landing yesterday which can be seen at: http://news.cntv.cn/program/xwlb/20121125/104305.shtml
According to mil.huanqiu.com, five pilots have smoothly landed J-15s and taken off, and it proved that previous training on the land has been quite successful.
The taking-off and landing in fact took place for the first time on November 20, though the relevant footage was not displayed until yesterday.
Though quite a few analysts believed that it had to take a long time before China had carrier-based aircrafts and trained pilots to operate the aircrafts, I was not surprised that the J-15 fighters China specially developed for its carrier could be ready so soon and that China was able to train pilots so quickly.
In my post The Mystery of China’s Homegrown Aircraft Carriers, I said, “according to the annual report of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), China’s State Council made a decision in 2003 that China should become a maritime superpower.
“That was confirmed by China’s Ocean Development Report, which said in 2010 that China had the idea and made a plan for building aircraft carriers in order to become a maritime superpower.”
Since China began to refit the hulk of the Liaoning, it has been doing lots of research and development to supply everything needed by the carrier and training pilots for it.
The hulk costs only US$100 million including its transport cost of US$80 million, but China has spent nearly US$2 billion in refitting it. No wonder then that China can get J-15 fighters and pilots ready soon after the carrier was commissioned, since China has spent 7 years and so much money for it.
The success in taking off and landing is indeed a crucial step in developing China’s aircraft carrier, but according to Chinese military experts such as Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie and Senior Colonel Zhang Junshe, deputy director of China’s Navy Military Academic Research Institute, there are still a lot of things to be done for the ship to be combat ready.
Zhang said that carrier-based early warning and anti-submarine aircraft, and anti-submarine helicopters, are indispensable, and it takes time to develop them. Even J-15 fighters that have successfully taken off and landed on the carrier will not really be combat ready for another 2 years. In Zhang’s opinion, the establishment of an aircraft combat group is so complicated that it has to take about 4 or 5 years to complete.
- China: J-15 fighters successful take-off and landing on aircraft carrier (chinadailymail.com)
- You: China lands first jet on aircraft carrier (edition.cnn.com)
- China lands first fighter jet on its aircraft carrier (foxnews.com)