- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 28, 2012

China’s military has used two J-15 stealth fighter jets for its first publicized aircraft carrier landing-and-takeoff operation.

The jets were piloted by five Chinese pilots as they made five tailhook landings and ski-jump takeoff flights using the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning, China’s state media confirmed this week.

Such activities are considered routine for established naval aviators, but the Chinese government and its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) hailed the operations as a monumental achievement.

“Chinese carrier-borne jet landings and takeoffs shocked the world. Chinese aircraft carrier prompted the West to speculate,” flashed headlines in the state-run newspaper Global Times.

“While the Chinese carrier program is making great leaps and tremendous progress, America’s first nuclear carrier the Enterprise is officially retiring on Dec. 1,” the newspaper reported, asserting once again that the Chinese military is challenging U.S. military might in every key aspect of modern warfare.

Although most observers say the J-15 is a replica of Russia’s carrier-borne Su-33 jet, Chinese defense officials insisted the J-15s were “completely of Chinese design and engineering, with complete Chinese intellectual property rights.”

“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,” said the state-run news agency Xinhua.

“The J-15 has comprehensive capabilities comparable to those of the Russian Su-33 jet and the U.S. F-18.”

Jet-fighter project chief dies

Hours after the first public demonstration landing of the J-15 jets on the aircraft carrier Liaoning, the chief organizer of the carrier-borne jet program and the sea tests suffered a massive heart attack on the carrier’s deck. Luo Yang was pronounced dead at a hospital Sunday morning. He was 51.

His death set off an instant wave of national mourning, the state-run media reported.

“Comrade Luo Yang was the first to die for China’s aircraft carrier mission,” said the People’s Daily and Chinese Radio International.

The official website of the Shenyang Aircraft Corp., China’s largest fighter jet manufacturer, where Mr. Luo had been chief, changed its color to mourning gray shortly after the death was announced.

Mr. Luo was one of China’s top combat aircraft designers and had been in the top leadership echelons at the Shenyang Aircraft Corp. for 10 years. He was the leading figure in jump-starting China’s modern fighter jet design and was closely associated with what was initially licensed production of Russian-design Sukhoi fighter jets on the Shenyang Aircraft Corp.’s assembly line.

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