J-15 aircraft seen on China’s “not-quite-ready” aircraft carrier

J-15 Fighter

According to Ming Pao’s exclusive report on August 22, in one of the newest pictures of China’s first aircraft carrier, a prototype of China’s new carrier-based aircraft J-15 is seen in a lifting test at Elevator No.1 on the starboard of China’s first aircraft carrier.

Previously, in Phoenix Satellite TV’s Observation Post of Military Situation, Chinese military expert Ma Dingsheng said that China had yet to develop its carrier-based aircraft before making a decision on construction of its aircraft carriers, when he commented on the speculation that China was going to build 6-8 nuclear aircraft carriers.

In fact, neither the carrier nor J-15 can be commissioned at this time. According to US estimates, the J-15 will not be commissioned until 2016.

Since there is still a long way to go for commissioning of China’s first aircraft carrier due to lack of carrier-based aircraft, why has China published so much news about it, and so many pictures of the carrier? Ming Pao says, “According to some Chinese military academics, they are acts in coordination with China’s aggressive diplomatic manoeuvre with ‘low-cost deterrent effects’ against military provocation.”

According to Ming Pao, Ni Lexiong, Director of China’s Sea Power Strategic and Defence Policy Institute, says that Chinese military is testing its aircraft carrier step by step until it is formally commissioned. The picture shows for certain that the carrier will be equipped with J-15 carrier-based aircraft for the time being. There has always been rumour that both the carrier and J-15 will hopefully be commissioned after 2013.

J-15 is being developed by China based on the Russian Sukhoi Su-33 and China’s mature experience in developing China-made J-11B and J-11BS. It is capable of long-distance attack and comparable in technology and performance to US F 18 Super Hornet. However, Ni Lexiong believes that a few years from now, another new carrier-based aircraft may emerge in China.

Academic: Frequent Report, Low-cost Deterrent

In addition, Ni pointed out that perhaps the test this time concerns the speed in lifting a fighter plane from hangar to the deck, performance of the elevator, carrying damaged planes down to clear the runway on the deck and installing bombs while lifting.

Regarding China’s frequent reports on its carrier, Ni points out that in coordination with China’s diplomatic manoeuvre, the reports play a deterrent role against foreign provocation. “In the past, huge funds were spent in conducting deterrent military drills. Now, deterrence is achieved by gradual disclosure of information about the Chinese aircraft carrier. It is a more cost-effective way to achieve a low-cost deterrent effect.”



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  1. Chinese navy gets first aircraft carrier « China Daily Mail

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