Chinese TV airs first stunning footage of J-15 flight ops on board China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning

Although it’s still decades away from achieving a combat capability comparable to that of the U.S. Navy, China’s People Liberation Army Navy is trying to fill the gap quite quickly.

According to Alert5, the first arrested landing on Liaoning took place on Oct. 21 with a J-15 piloted by a China Flight Test Establishment pilot.

On Nov. 20, PLANAF (People Liberation Army Navy Air Force) performed the first successful arrested landing on the Liaoning, China’s first Aircraft Carrier by a made-in-China Shenyang J-15, a multi-role Gen.4.5 plane (based on the Su-33 airframe with Chinese-developed technology).

On Nov. 23, flight ops on the aircraft carrier involved two PLANAF pilots.

Purchased in 1998, the Kutznesov Class 60,000 ton aircraft carrier, previously named “Varyag”, will be used to test qualify Chinese pilots flying with the navalised J-15 as well as to test and validate procedures, equipments for another future operative aircraft carrier (expected no sooner than 2020).

Hence, not only China is currently the only country known to be developing two stealth fighters simultaneously (the J-20 and the J-31) but the successful landings on Liaoning have put its Navy on track for a future role as a maritime power capable to pose a threat to the U.S. naval forces in the Asia-Pacific theatre.


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. My compliments to the PLAN/PLAAF for copying thru espinoge and lack or respecting copyrights of the works of others, right down to copying the flight deck jerseys and cranials colors used by the U.S. Navy. A bootleg copy of a Flanker, two new fighters that have a striking resemblence to the F-22 (I am sure it is just a coincidence), of course the PLAAF/PLAN will become a threat to U.S. security in the Pacific the just shave years off of research/design by copying the works of others.

    • Larry is absolutely correct. The lack of a catapult
      limits weapons load outs significantly. Further, the Liaoning deck does not accommodate simultaneous launch and recovery of aircraft. Still, the power projection capability a carrier offers, with sufficient battle group support ships, is significant especially in the littorals which is China’s principle concern. Dismissive comments about how their advanced military and space technology is not native is irrelevant. True, their carrier is Russian, the majority of their advanced aircraft and all of their spacecraft are either direct copies Russian versions or derivatives of American technology but that is of little significance. The Chinese are clever in that regard. There is no reason to design a native technology when you can take advantage of proven concepts without the R&D costs. It is unlikely the Chinese will supplant the U.S. as the dominant political and military force in the Pacific anytime in the near future but it is clear they see a prevailing need to offset the current balance of power in the western Pacific which is American centred around the U.S.-Japan Security Agreement and the U.S.-South Korean alliance. Their security dilemma demands the use of whatever means they need to employ to provide adequate force projection capability. While a single carrier presents no real change to the balance of power in East Asia it does speak to an emphasis by the Chinese to bolster their influence in the region.

    • The “stunning” part of the video is that it is the first one clearly showing flight ops on board the Chinese aircraft carrier. It provides much previously unknown details about the Liaoning. Therefore it’s stunning to me.

  2. I haven’t seen the device at 2:38 in the video before. I assume it prevents the aircraft from moving while it runs up its engines to have full power on takeoff.

  3. The “stunning” part is just behind your computer screen, if you happened to have a brain.

    Now, we can say China has achieved a significant naval milestone in such a short period of time and in such a severe environment dominated by American technical blockade and Western political hostility. It now becomes the third country, after the US and Russia, that possesses its own systematic — from shipbuilding to pilot training, naval technologies. If China could achieve this in such an environment, what can stop it?

    There are about 8 countries that have naval carriers, but none of them will have more political and economic impacts than China to the old World Order that was built to maintain Western dominance.

    A new era starts indeed! This is why it is stunning.

    • I would severely disagree in all politeness with your account of the situation for the following reasons
      – yes the PLA has achieved a significant leap in weapons technology with nuclear submarines, AC busters, Long range bombers, stealth technology and so on but to say their navy is unstoppable is a tad far fetched.
      The PLA not only lacks any sort of trained officers to conduct maritime doctrines aligned with AC assets but they lack much of the technology to fully use an AC just like the US or France…They lack radar, fighter and crew capability the constat for the moment remains they have an empty hull capable of letting land a single fighter at the time the latter being stripped and thus of no strategic use.
      Mainstream media portray this as the first step towards Chinese supremacy of the Eastern seas and the pacific but the fact REMAINS that they can not do anything so as long as they do not have the strategic and technologic advantage.
      On a concluding remark lest not forget military forces are now an asset of political power more than ever and the dependency on both side (USA/China) makes it such that confrontation is simply not likely at all western supremacy remains and although perhaps not for long.

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