As I discussed in my last post about China’s ongoing quest for aerospace parity with the west and naval power projection capability, the J-15 would be seen on-board the Liaoning much sooner than many thought. Some experts projections of the Chinese Navy to take over a year or more to actually operate the J-15 from the decks of their new (to them at least) aircraft carrier were laughable. Those with a public voice and or our own Defense Department (see Robert Gates and co.) must stop chronically underestimating China’s lust for military technological progress. Simply put, they are willing to risk comparatively more than the west in exchange for rapid evolution when it comes to their military aerospace projects. Seeing as their carrier aviation ambitions are a centerpiece of their future military strategy, this race for increased capabilities and technological know-how will be extremely evident as their carrier aviation program progresses.
China is already building its first indigenous aircraft carrier. I have not seen any hard evidence as to its final design and configuration but I would bet that it is larger and much more advanced than the second-hand Lioaning. China says this new class will be christened by 2016, and I do not doubt their claims. Although building a carrier, even the non-nuclear conventionally powered variety, is a very complex, intricate and expensive task. Yet somehow I think China is well up to the task seeing as they can erect a 30 story hotel in just 15 days:
Some lovely views of the previously shy J-15 in the video above and the pictures below as well: