China's Aircraft Carrier Hit A Huge Milestone

Photo: Sina

Amid the recent political shift within Chinese politics, the effort at modernizing and advancing its military has remained unchanged.Minnie Chan of the South China Morning Post reports that to demonstrate this unwavering effort, China today confirmed the first successful carrier landings of its J-15 fighter aboard its first aircraft carrier the Liaoning.

The landings are the culmination of a years-long effort at refitting the Soviet-era carrier, originally christened the Varyag, and are perhaps the most difficult technical carrier maneuvers to accomplish.

Testing on land-based, carrier shaped decks, has been going on for months, so this recent achievement is causing a bit of celebration. While not the culmination of China’s entry into a functioning carrier military power, the successful landings put it on track to enter that club with gusto when it adds additional carriers to the group.

The Liaoning will no doubt serve as China’s training carrier, where it cuts its teeth on the technical and tactical challenges facing flattop operations. rumours have persisted for some time that Beijing was building two indigenous carriers as well, but proof of that has yet to be seen.

China PilotReports by Chinese media say the first pilot to make an arrested landing on board aircraft carrier Liaoning is Dai Mingmeng.

Photo: Alert 5

If those rumours turn out to be groundless, it likely won’t be long before China is producing carriers on its own as Chinese shipbuilders are already clamoring for the chance.The jet that performed the arrested landing, the J-15, is believed to be a near clone of Russia’s Su-33 carrier-based fighter and was seen sporting Russian AL-31 turbofan engines in 2009. While Russian military officials have played down the J-15’s achievement and said China will no doubt continue seeking to purchase Su-33s, it’s not likely to get any, and the J-15 may prove they don’t need them regardless.

China and Russia are at a long-standing impasse over military deals after China ripped the Russian Su-27SK design and cloned it into the Shenyang J-11B, violating all sorts of intellectual property agreements.

Finally, these developments come as the U.S. announces the USS Nimitz is so dysfunctional it cannot be deployed and is pulling the USS Eisenhower from the Persian Gulf for a quick ref-fit before sending it back to cover for the Nimitz.

The Nimitz is about 40 years old and discovered a major problem with its propulsion system during pre-deployment maneuvers. No word on how long it may be out of rotation, but the Eisenhower will be picking up the slack, at least in the near future.

Now: Step aboard the US carrier Eisenhower >

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