Expert: Aircraft Carrier Liaoning possesses combat capability


China Military
Yao Jianing


BEIJING, Nov. 25 (ChinaMil) -- Recently, a group of training photos of China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning has triggered media attention. The photos showed that eight J-15 carrier-borne fighters lined up on the deck. Foreign media analyzed that China's first aircraft carrier is now combat ready.


Military expert Cao Weidong said in an interview with "Decoding Chinese Military Intelligence" of Beijing Television that although there is still a gap, Liaoning has possessed a certain level of combat capability.


The training photos showed that eight J-15 carrier-borne fighters lined up in a row on one side of the deck with folded wings. Air-to-air missiles were hung on the shoulder part of the wings.


It is reported that the parking area of these eight J-15 fighters is the traditional parking area for carrier-borne aircraft because it is convenient for such operations as gas filling and bomb loading.


Earlier in mid-August, China Central Television (CCTV) has reported that during the sea training of Liaoning, eight J-15 fighters appeared on the deck at the same time.


Jane's Defense Weekly of the UK published a piece of headline news entitled "China's first aircraft carrier is now combat ready" on November 16. The Associated Press of the US reported that Liaoning's readiness to engage in combat marked a milestone for the PLA Navy that has invested heavily in its ability to project power far from China's shores.


In response to the widely-discussed combat readiness of the aircraft carrier Liaoning reported by foreign media, Cao pointed out that the design of Liaoning is mainly a platform for training and scientific experiments. It can also be used for carrier-borne aircraft combat and pilot training and for laying the foundation for the next aircraft carrier.


In addition, Liaoning also supports weapon testing including air defense missiles and rapid-fire firearms, air defense and anti-missile tasks, and offensive and defensive operations, said Cao.


"As an offshore platform, the aircraft carrier Liaoning has experienced voyage training, and carrier-borne aircraft takeoff and landing training. It can also carry out air defense and anti-missile missions. This means if there are operational requirements, Liaoning is capable of performing combat missions," said Cao.


Although there is still a gap, the aircraft carrier Liaoning has possessed a certain level of combat capability, he concluded.

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