Beijing: China today said it has successfully landed a fighter jet on its first aircraft carrier, a move that would help project its growing military might amid simmering maritime disputes with some of its key neighbours.
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 jet, 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 25 September, 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 jet.
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”.
The announcement of the successful first landing of a fighter jet on the Liaoning comes as China and Japan are embroiled in a dispute over islands they both claim.
The row over the East China Sea islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, has strained bilateral relations and had sparked anti-Japan protests across China.
China is also locked in a similar maritime territorial dispute with Vietnam and the Philippines in the resource-rich South China Sea.