China's new aircraft carrier reportedly saw its first flight operations recently as a J-15 aircraft has been shown taking off and landing on the deck of the ship.
The Associated Press reports that, according to the state-run Chinese Xinhua News Agency, the airplane and its carrier platform "met all requirements" and achieved "good compatibility."
Photographs appearing on the Chinese Defense Ministry website show the aircraft taking off and landing on the carrier deck. The ship entered into service September 25, and it is not expected to be combat-ready for some time. But Xinhua said the ship and its crew have completed more than 100 training and testing programs.
"We have done all these test flights from the very beginning, and finally we mastered the key skills for the landing of carrier-borne aircraft," said Vice-Admiral Zhang Yongyi, a deputy commander of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, in a release posted on an English language Chinese Defense Ministry website. Zhang is also the commander-in-chief in charge of the tests and training program of the flight landing.
The Liaoning aircraft carrier was originally a Soviet ship that the Chinese purchased unfinished from Ukraine in 1998. It has been undergoing refurbishment since that time.
The J-15 is based on the Sukhoi Su-33 fighter-bomber. Xinhua reports that it will be armed with anti-ship, air-to-air, and air-to-ground missiles as well as precision-guided munitions.