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. I agree with David! I noticed they had two J-15s lined up on the deck
    To all naysayers: people were saying the same arrogant things about the Japanese navy and their Zero fighters until they almost wiped out the US fleet at Pearl Harbour! Fortunately the Pentagon is a bit less arrogant and more vigilant…

    • i don’t know where to begin…. comparing the slow rise of the Chinese navy to Pearl harbor is hardly justified…The US was perfectly aware of the Japanese build up and did fear the zero with its superior maneuverability and very long range … Pearl Harbor happened because of the inability of the US intelligence to connect the dots if only one thing would ve been done it would ve not have happened.

      Moving on to say the Chinese navy is at the same level as the japanese navy all things being equal is not accurate. The Chinese navy is in its early years as a relevant international force and although it is advancing at a significant pace in regards to technology it is not doing so well in regards to human capital. Without years of military heritage their military doctrine remain, from what we see, a little outdated and they lack officers taught in the light of modern warfare tactics. Now i know what i say will most likely bei wrong by 2025 but until then we shouldn’t start trembling at the might of the paper tiger.

  2. I was just wondering (really dont want to spark yet another debate about our brains) but the fact it landed with no payload and them the same for take off really challenges the idea that this air craft carrier is no more than a tool for propaganda…i mean well see in 2020 but right no i dont see this ship being a threat? yay? nay?

  3. My general impression is that among the quasi-professionals, especially those who did not become a serious adult, horribly underestimate the power of China, in particular, mocking comments, on account of the conclusions, that all this is just an introduction and an indication of where the Chinese Army to be for most 10 years. and .. then it would be better if America is ready and very much less disparaging

  4. It is not a tech feat to land a fighter on an AC in general. But the J-15 landing on the Liaoning boat is an exception. It is achieved by a none-white country hated most by the Westerners, achieved it in the worest possible political environment and that country happens to be a victim of the long-established world order. Something big is deemed to happen.

    60-year ago, then Chief of Staff of US air force Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg testified about Korean air war. He claimed Red China became a major air force power “almost overnight” when it was able to borrow the air force technologies it did not have. (

    Very likely history will repeat itself. But this time the pace will be much faster and the impact will be much bigger.(China is already a major economic power and now home-grows its own technologies.)

    This landing indicates that PLAN’s naval aviation branch already possosses some initial combat capacity which some people won’t want to admit. Let’s see why.

    China is a continental country and has been developing its own Anti-Access ability. With or without the help of other carrier-borne accessory aircrafts and patroling vessles, this boat and its J-15s on board alone will help China extend its defense position seaward. From the perspective of any country’s anti-access strategy, it is a big step forward when you have a mobile off-shore airfield protected by land-based missiles, directed by land-based ABEWs, refueled by land-based tankers,… and not to mention helped by the watchful satellites.

    Don’t compare China with the US. They are differnet counties with different cultures, therefore, need different militaries.

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