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:









































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  1. Todd Frohwirth says:

    Can Hornets carry AIM-54s, or is that dependent on AWG-9? That was a nice capability to have.

  2. Charley A says:

    The only aircraft that can shoot AIM-54s is the F-14, and the only operator of F-14s is Iran – not to say that they have any functional Phoenixes. The AIM-54 requires the AWG-9 radar.

  3. Ed says:

    My goodness. It’s amazing what the Chinese can do with all the tech they “borrowed” from western firms that were willing to look the other way for the sake of “partnering” with Chinese firms.

  4. Sanem says:

    once the US leaves the Pacific area, this will give certainly give China reach and air dominance in the area (seeing how India is failing to make good progress, and countries like Japan and Australia are betting on the F-35)

    as for “borrowed” technology, one has to wonder where the US and Russia would have been today if not for the stuff they “found” in Germany

  5. blahba says:

    Thank you for your thoughts on this milestone for China.

    I can’t get over those complaints that China is borrowing technology from other countries. Get it people… that’s just how things work. Look at the technology transfer after WW2 (rockets, jetengines, physics, chemistry).

    I find it rather interesting to see the Chinese deck crew having the same colors and behavior as their US counterparts.

  6. nico says:

    One thing that we probably will get from China that we haven’t gotten from Russia is since China has more money and seems to be more “open”, we will get more pictures and videos of take offs, so far, we have been very short of images of Sukois, I mean, future J15s taking off with weapons loads. How practical is this technology/technique and especially effective in combat?

    Let’s face it, this is pretty incredible that they showed so much this soon…

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Chinese wait for results before really making a decision of future carriers, it agrees more with how the process things anyways, build on what is known and regular evolutions than revolutions…why not wait a little, get feed back, then make a decision on next carrier which I think will be closer to American carriers anyways…that will be interesting to see if they continue with Russian approach (no catapults), US approach (super carriers) or maybe go a third Chinese way…

  7. Sanem says:

    technologically speaking, China does have a huge advantage: it doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel, it just has to copy it. so it’s not about know how, but ability to replicate, and that gives huge economical savings

    meanwhile the West is paying through the nose to get a marginal advantage, in a time where assymetrical warfare has shown its power. combined with its economic power and numbers, I don’t doubt China will come to control the pacific soon enough

    but on assymetric warfare, I still believe there are cheaper alternatives to aircraft carriers. especially in an age of long range anti-ship capabilities and submarines, it’s really a fat target. a nice ability for sure, but a relatively costly one. missile ships, converted oil tankers… these are the ways to combine advanced technology and effectiveness with cheap platforms. especially the introduction of UAVs is a game changer from the age of manned jet aircraft aircraft carriers, its cost effectivness over ability

  8. Praetorian says:

    What some people call ” Found ” or ” Borrowed ” technology from WW2, I call it war reparations.

  9. anonymous says:

    One has to wonder what China’s industrial surge capacity really is. Could they at some point pull a 5-year sprint that puts them in a dominant position in the Western Pacific before the US can respond? I acknowledge that numbers aren’t everything, but they are something, as our performance against Germany in WWII shows.

  10. Bronc says:

    Ty would know the answer to this, but I wonder how much of a payload penalty there is using a ‘ski jump’ bow ramp versus a cat shot. It has to be approaching 50% does it not? And given the size of the flight deck, the number of Su-33 aircraft it can carry is what? Now factor in helos, a Chinese version of the E-2C, and the Growler version of the Su-33 and the Chinese carrier can launch a strike package of maybe 10 limited range/limited payload aircraft?


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