China’s First Carrier Landings

A pair of Chinese J-15 fighters successfully conducted the first landings aboard China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning, according to the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua. “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,” stated Vice Adm. Zhang Yongyi, deputy commander of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, in Xinhua’s Nov. 26 report. A video aired on Chinese central television showed the primer-painted aircraft in test markings making several arrested landings before taking off again. Liaoning is the former Russian carrier Varyag. The Chinese began sea trials with it in summer 2011 following an extensive refitting in China. The J-15, which is a copy of the Russian Sukhoi Su-33 originally intended for the Varyag, utilizes a ski jump on launch instead of the US Navy-style catapult system.