After successfully commissioning its first aircraft carrier around two months ago, China has now successfully conducted the landing of a fighter jet on its aircraft carrier, a move that demonstrates China’s knack to show its rising military power in territorial disputes.
According to reports, the China-made J-15 fighter jet landed on the aircraft carrier Liaoning during flight test exercise on Sunday, underscoring China's aspiration to be a top Asian maritime power. However; the aircraft carrier is not likely to take a complete complement of aircrafts or be geared up for war in the meantime.
"The successful landing... has always been seen as a symbol of the operating combat capability for an aircraft carrier," Zhang Junshe, a vice director at the military's Naval Affairs Research Institute, told state television, according to AFP. "This is a landmark event for China's aircraft carrier... and (moves it) one step closer to combat readiness."
On its website, the Chinese Defense Ministry posted photos of the aircraft taking off from and landing on the aircraft carrier. According to China’s Xinhua news agency, the aircraft carrier pedestal and the J-15 aircraft capacities satisfied all necessities and accomplished good compatibility.
A video footage by China Central TV showed a tail hook at the back of the aircraft holding a wire on the deck of the aircraft carrier as the aircraft landed and slowly came to a stop.
China purchased the former Soviet Union’s carrier Varyag from Ukraine and revamped it, renamed it and commissioned it into service. Reports suggest that construction of the aircraft carrier was kicked off by the Soviet Union around 20 years back, but work on the vessel remained unfinished due to the unexpected fall down of the Soviet Union.
After entering it into service, the aircraft carrier’s crew has carried out around 100 training exercises and test programs, the Chinese Ministry of Defense said.
During the past several years, China has gradually turned more forceful in its claims over the entire South China Sea. As the economic and military might of China have increased, it has expanded its territorial claims, increasing the worries and anxieties of its neighbors.