Wendell Minnick

The launch of China’s first aircraft carrier last month bewildered military analysts, as the ship was not able to receive aircrafts. But the navy is now preparing  the Shenyang J-15 Flying Shark fighter for future landing on the carrier, writes defense specialist Wendell Minnick in Defense News.

Wendell Minnick:

The photographs have appeared on Chinese-language military blogs and government-run newspapers. The images show the J-15 flying just above the carrier deck, along with a photograph of a Changhe Z-8 search-and-rescue helicopter taking off from the deck.

“The latest imagery shows that China is continuing to progress toward a genuine carrier capacity, possibly with an initial operation capability around the middle of this decade,” said Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, U.K.

“Imagery of a prototype of the Shenyang J-15 show the aircraft being flown on practice final approaches and over-flying the deck, likely as part of the initial trials for carrier operation,” he said…

Though the photographs are surprising, none of the photos of the plane show a tailhook deployed, and all show the plane in the air behind the carrier’s ski jump, “so it clearly had not done a takeoff from the ship,” and “more likely a touch-and-go or fly-by,” said Roger Cliff, a China defense specialist for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

More in Defense News.

Wendell Minnick is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

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