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November 26, 2012

Media: China Performed First Carrier Deck Landing

Chinese fighter for the first time managed to land on the aircraft carrier deck, reported South China Morning Post on Nov 22.

According to the newspaper, fighter J-15 successfully landed on the deck of aircraft carrier Liaoning last Tuesday in Bohai Gulf where the ship passes another trial round, writes Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

It was also reported that the carrier's crew started practicing interaction with air wing only in Oct 2012.

Reportedly, until the last Tuesday, Chinese pilots had been practicing only deck touchdowns and then landed on ground-based airfields. However, that is a normal process of gradual polishing of deck-landing techniques.

At last, the first phase of the exercise was led to its logical end. Obviously, Chinese experts did mount arresters on Liaoning.

An arrester constitutes a thick steel rope extended across the deck and helping to dissipate kinetic energy of a landing airplane. Thanks to that, landing run is shortened to the size of a flight deck.

It is noteworthy that Russia earlier refused to sell arresters to China for its first aircraft carrier which is retrofitted Soviet ship Varyag.

Directors of the Central Research Institute for Marine Engineering and the Proletarsky Zavod declared in 2006 that China was about to buy 4 arresters and that the parties had conducted several rounds of negotiations.

However, it was reported in 2011 that the Kremlin had recommended the institute to shut down all contacts with China, and elite of Russian defense industry had probably decided not to sell arresters to that country.

According to sources of military-oriented magazine Kanwa Asian Defence, China managed to purchase samples of tailhooks for operational training airplane JL-9 and its copy J-15 from Ukraine instead of buying them directly from Russia.

Meanwhile, representatives of Russian defense and foreign ministries answering the questions regarding China's procurement of Russian carrier-building technologies answered that "strategic arms are prohibited for export to China. Aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines, and nuclear weapons production technologies fall within the category of strategic arms".

Mastering of the deck-landing technique – the hardest both from the viewpoint of technology and pilotage skills – will let China use this kind of ships to full extent. Aircraft carriers at China's hands may noticeably affect regional balance of force. For one, Japan cautiously watches expansion of Chinese Navy's presence in the Pacific Ocean, especially in the context of recent aggravation of the territorial conflict around the Senkaku Islands.

Recall that the first Chinese aircraft carrier was built on the basis of the ex-Soviet aircraft-carrying cruiser Varyag bought in 1998 from Ukraine at the price of metal scrap. That refurbished ship is expected to serve in Chinese Navy primarily as an experimental base and a training platform for ship-based pilots.

According to Hong Kong sources, China plans to build several ships of this type classified as Admiral Kuznetsov.

Rusnavy

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