Is China's only aircraft carrier a nightmare for its own fighter jets?

A state-run TV channel has quoted a veteran pilot as saying that the Liaoning's short take-off makes it difficult for new-age fighter jets to shoot off.

Is China's only aircraft carrier a nightmare for its own fighter jets?
File photo of Liaoning. (Courtesy: Video released on Chinese social media website Weibo)

China is on a quest to expand and modernise its military to emerge as a direct rivals to global powers and expanding its reach on the sea is being looked at a crucial component in reaching this end. One key area where it has been rather lacking is that it has only a solitary aircraft carrier  - Liaoning, which too may not be quite adept in handling new-age fighter jets.

A video coverage focusing on the Liaoning by state-run China Central Television has quoted a Chinese pilot as saying that the aircraft carrier has an extremely short takeoff space which makes flying out a lot trickier than coming home to base. The veteran pilot, reportedly with 17 years of experience, has said that fighter jets like the much new-age and much-touted J-15 fighters may need to get rid off weapons and fuels in order to shoot off from the aircraft carrier.

Initially built for the Soviet Navy in 1985 and commissioned by China in 2012 after a series of retro-fitting and domestically produced network systems, the Lioning also may not be best suited for landing, for latest jets. Without elaborating on it, the experienced Chinese pilot said that the system in place for bringing planes to a halt on the ship may not be conducive for newer fighter jets.

While China is preparing its second aircraft carrier - codenamed Type 001, the Liaoning too is expected to remain in service. This means that the new fighter jets could possibly remain at a massive risk.

 

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