China lands J-15 Flying Shark Fighter Jet on Liaoning aircraft carrier

The Chinese Fighter Jet is based on an unfinished Sukhoi Su-33 that was bought from Ukraine in 2001. The Shenyang Aircraft Corporation developed the fighter jet further and was equipped with enhanced avionics. Introduction is around 2016 according to Western Experts, but it could be well before. The very fast development of the Chinese defense and especially air defense pipeline is surpising Western Experts. Two Stealth Fighters, The J-20 and J-31 have had their maiden flight within less than two years. The J-31 is believed to be an Aircraft Carrier jet also.

The region is afraid about the growing muscle of the Chinese air and sea defense. Sea row with Japan showed that China is willing to defend its interests aggressively.

BBC defense correspondent says „significant moment“

Jonathan Marcus, BBC defense correspondent describes the carrier landing as follows:

„The images of the carrier Liaoning recovering a J-15 jet fighter using the traditional arrestor hook and cables to bring the aircraft to a rapid halt, mark a significant moment: China’s public arrival as an operator of carrier-borne air power. Nonetheless the Chinese Navy still has much to do before it can be seen as having a truly operational carrier capability.

Considerably more training will be needed to create a cadre of air-crew and technicians to keep its carrier-borne jets flying in a variety of sea conditions. China will also have to create the operational practices and procedures, not just to establish a carrier air-wing made up of a variety of specialised aircraft but it will also have to develop the ability to operate its carrier alongside other vessels in a dedicated battle group.

The Liaoning is thus largely a training carrier but a significant pointer as to the direction China’s sea-power is heading.“

Liaoing Aircraft Carrier in comparison

Varyag aircraft carrier in Istanbul

The Liaoing is 304.5m, compared to the 330m US Nimitz class Aircraft carriers. It is larger than the French Charles de Gaulle with 261.5m and the UK Invincible class with only 210m. The Liaoing will be able to carry 50 aircraft plus helicopters. The US is still far ahead with 11 active aircraft carriers, Italy is second with 2. India, Brazil, Spain, Thailand, Russia, France and the UK have only one active aircraft carrier each.

The 304.5m Liaoning is a refurbished Soviet Admiral Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier purchased from Ukraine.  It was told the Varyag was sold to a Chinese Businessman (Chong Lot Travel Agency Ltd, Hong Kong) wanted to turn the former Varyag into a floating casino in Macau. According to the Ukraininan press, Chong Lot Travel Agency Ltd paid USD 20 million for the Varyag. In 2001 the Aircraft Carrier was towed to China. After an overhaul, it was not used as a Casino but for the Chinese Navy.

China to build up huge naval fleet

In 2013, China plans to launch it’s first domestically built aircraft carrier: It is planned to be commissioned in 2015. According to CNA, China will build a superb first-class Navy over 20 or 30 years. 3 aircraft carrier are planned within 10 years. Afterwards China will start to build at least 2 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The Varyag/Liaoing is a diesel-powered aircraft carrier.

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