Chinese Jet Performs First Successful Aircraft Carrier Landings and Takeoffs
Photos and video released by state-run television showed the aircraft, which has capabilities that are comparable to the U.S.-built F/A-18, as it took off and landed on the aircraft carrier. It was not clear when or where the landing took place, but defense officials said it was part of recent exercises.
The aircraft carrier, known as Liaoning, completed its maiden sea trial in August 2011 but advanced cable landing technology was not installed until recently. Liaoning is a former Soviet aircraft carrier which has been completely refitted for its new role as a platform for research and pilot naval training at the Dalian shipyard in northeast China’s Liaoning Province.
The Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier was 70 percent complete when China bought it from Ukraine for $20 million in 1998. China started an overhaul of the vessel in 2005, and the 1,000 foot (305 meter)-long vessel is now capable of carrying up to 26 aircraft and 24 helicopters.
While the introduction of the aircraft carrier comes amid escalating territorial disputes with neighbors, China previously stressed the carrier is intended solely for scientific research, experiments and training. There are currently a total of 21 active-service aircraft carriers worldwide, and China was the only permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) which was not in possession of one.
In a sad afterword, Luo Yang, general manager of the Shenyang Aircraft Corp who was responsible for development of the J-15, died of a heart attack just hours after the successful flight. He was 51.