Monday, December 3, 2012

China's J-15 succesfully completed takeoffs and landings on the Liaoning

China's home-made fighters have successfully completed takeoffs and landings on the Liaoning, the country's first aircraft carrier. This effectively opens a new chapter for the country's carrier development, ending speculations that the vessel is "incomplete" due to a lack of ship-borne jets, experts say.

The announcement was first made by the Xinhua News Agency. At least two Shenyang J-15 fighters took off and landed on the flight-deck of the Liaoning, which was commissioned to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy two months ago. The exact time and date of the first landing and takeoff were not revealed, but according to China Central Television (CCTV), the operations took place from Thursday to Saturday. The first pilot to land on the Liaoning was named as Dai Mingmeng (戴明盟).

According to the PLA's official website, a total of five fighter pilots successfully accomplished the missions, after receiving special low-visibility, crosswind and turbulent environment training. The capabilities of the carrier platform and the J-15 were both tested, meeting all requirements and achieving good compatibility, the PLA Navy told Xinhua, officially acknowledging the existence of the J-15 fighter for the first time.

The J-15 is reported to use different avionics and systems than the Su-33, and uses Chinese-developed technologies, and features various upgrades such as AESA radar, radar absorbent material, MAWS, IRST, composite, and new electronics. An article in the China Signpost believes the J-15 "likely exceeds or matches the aerodynamic capabilities of virtually all fighter aircraft currently operated by regional militaries, with the exception of the U.S. F-22 Raptor", alleging that the J-15 likely possesses a 10% superior thrust to weight ratio and a 25% lower wing loading than the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. However, one of the authors of that same article described the J-15 in another as no game changer.