China said it has successfully landed a J-15 fighter jet on its first aircraft carrier, a move that would help project its growing military power amid simmering maritime disputes with some of its key neighbours.
The successful flight landing on ‘The Liaoning’ aircraft carrier also marked the debut of the J-15 as China’s first generation multi-purpose carrier-borne fighter jet, the PLA Navy said.
After its delivery to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on September 25, the aircraft carrier 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 has 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. The carrier, originally called the Varyag, was originally 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.