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Aero India 2023

China conducts first landing on aircraft carrier: Navy

This undated photo shows a carrier-borne J-15 fighter jet taking off from China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. Photo: Xinhua/Zha Chunming.

BEIJING (PTI): China Sunday said it has successfully landed a fighter jet on its first aircraft carrier.

The successful flight landing on 'The Liaoning' aircraft carrier also marked the debut of J-15 as China's first generation multi-purpose carrier-borne fighter aircraft, the PLA Navy said.

State-run CCTV showed footage of the new J-15 fighter landing on the carrier and taking off.

After its delivery to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on September 25, the Liaoning has undergone a series of sailing and technological tests, including the flight of the carrier-borne J-15, the state-run Xinhua news agency quoted a defence ministry statement as saying.

"Capabilities of the carrier platform and the J-15 have been tested, meeting all requirements and achieving good compatibility," the PLA Navy said.

Since the carrier entered service, the crew have completed more than 100 training and test programmes, it said.

Designed by and made in China, the J-15 is able to carry multi-type anti-ship, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, as well as precision-guided bombs. Russians defence officials say J-15, which uses a Russian engine is a remade version of Su-33 aircraft.

The 300-metre carrier, originally called the Varyag, was purchased from Ukraine and has undergone extensive renovation in the northeastern Chinese port of Dalian.

China says the Liaoning will help "effectively protect national sovereignty, security and development interests".

According to the Chinese officials, the fighter is part of China's new generation of aircraft which included the J-31, the second version of the radar evading stealth aircraft, China has developed.

"The successful landing... has always been seen as a symbol of the operating combat capability for an aircraft carrier," Zhang Junshe, a vice director at the military's Naval Affairs Research Institute, told state television.

"This is a landmark event for China's aircraft carrier...and (moves it) one step closer to combat readiness," he said.

The PLA Navy pilots have mastered key skills to ensure the success of the take-off and the landing, especially under unfavourable conditions such as poor visibility and unstable airflow, Vice-Admiral Zhang Yongyi, a deputy commander of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, has said.

"It's like 'dancing on a knifepoint' as the aircraft have to land on a very limited space," Zhang was quoted by state-run Xinhua news agency as saying, while commenting on the successful flight landing recently conducted on 'The Liaoning'.

The aircraft must land precisely over a very short and narrow runway on the carrier at a speed of several hundred kmph, Zhang said, after the J-15 fighter succeeded in the landing tests.

"We have done all these test flights from the very beginning, and finally we mastered the key skills for the landing of carrier-borne aircraft," Zhang, who is also the commander-in-chief in charge of the tests and training programme of the flight landing, said.

Currently, the Chinese pilots have found out the right ways to conduct the landing and they have consolidated their skills, according to the Navy officer, who himself is a meritorious pilot of the Chinese naval air force.

Zhang said the carrier-borne aircraft and special equipment for the landing flight have gone through strict tests, and fighter jets can be deployed on the aircraft carrier.

The landing of the first jet on the carrier took place days after Russian Minister Sergei Shoigu's visit here to deepen Sino-Russian defence cooperation, specially in aviation and carrier based technologies.

Analysts say with $100 billion dollar budget per annum, China has become a major attraction of Russian defence industry due to the prevailing embargo of the supply defence technology to Beijing by EU and US.

While developing new jet fighters, China is yet to come up with an engine of its own for its aircraft and very much reliant on Russian engines.

Reports from Moscow say Russia wants to sell the engines in bulk instead of piece by piece to avoid the prospects of Chinese manufacturing the same using the re-engineering techniques.


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