China makes crucial progress in carrier-borne aircraft's night takeoff & landing

China Military Online
Huang Panyue

By Guo Yuandan

BEIJING, May 25 (ChinaMil) -- China Central Television (CCTV), the predominant state television broadcaster of the People's Republic of China (PRC), released a video clip of night takeoffs and landings of Chinese carrier-borne aircraft on May 24, 2018.

It means that the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (Hull 16), equipped with basic all-weather combat capability, has taken a key step toward having real combat capability, said Li Jie, a Chinese aircraft carrier expert.

China is now one of the few countries in the world that has mastered the technique of carrier-borne aircraft's night-time takeoffs and landings, Li added.

This is the first time that Chinese state media has confirmed that China's carrier-borne aircraft has that capability. According to the report, the carrier-borne fighter jets have achieved lots of breakthroughs in technologies and tactics in the past year and a number of carrier-borne fighter pilots and landing signal officers have achieved qualification certification.

Night combat is the primary method of modern warfare. Only with the ability to do night landings, can the carrier-borne fighter pilots be truly qualified. And only with the night takeoff and landing capability, can the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning perform all-weather operations and become an aircraft carrier in the true sense, Li added.

Previously, the US, Russia, France, and the UK had mastered night-time carrier-based aircraft takeoffs and landings, and China has joined them now.

In addition to night takeoff and landing training under complex weather conditions, Li said that, another important aim for China's aircraft carrier is to increase the number of pilots with such capabilities.

Only when enough pilots have mastered the night takeoff and landing skills, can the Chinese aircraft carrier be said to be ready for full-scale combat.


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