Air­craft car­rier-based fighter jet of­fi­cially ca­pa­ble of night com­bat

Global Times - - Top News - By Liu Xuanzun

The J-15 fighter jet is ca­pa­ble of night take­off and land­ing on an air­craft car­rier, the Chi­nese navy news­pa­per said Wed­nes­day, lead­ing a Chi­nese mil­i­tary ex­pert to marvel at how fast the pi­lots mas­tered a dif­fi­cult and dan­ger­ous tech­nique.

The Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (PLA) Navy has made a break­through in its air­craft car­rier night take­off and land­ing tech­nique, a his­toric mile­stone for the J-15 and a sig­nif­i­cant break­through in over­all at­tack and de­fense ca­pa­bil­ity, the of­fi­cial PLA web­site navy.81.cn web­site re­ported on Wed­nes­day.

At night dur­ing com­bat, air­craft car­ri­ers are likely to dim their lights mak­ing take­off and land­ing a much more chal­leng­ing propo­si­tion for pi­lots, Song Zhong­ping, a mil­i­tary ex­pert and TV com­men­ta­tor, told the Global Times on Thurs­day.

Day­time take-off and land­ing are al­ready dif­fi­cult and dan­ger­ous as a car­rier is much smaller than, for ex­am­ple, an air­port land­ing strip, Song said.

Fac­tor in the harsh sea and weather con­di­tions, and the pi­lot must learn to face and over­come mas­sive psy­cho­log­i­cal pres­sure.

In a re­cent train­ing ses­sion, J-15 pi­lots took off and landed at night mul­ti­ple times and fin­ished live-fire tar­get prac­tices with var­i­ous types of mis­siles, the re­port said.

“Mil­i­tary con­flicts do not only break out dur­ing day­time, and so it’s very im­por­tant to take night­time op­er­a­tions into con­sid­er­a­tion in pre­par­ing for a po­ten­tial war,” Song said.

The fighter jets’ abil­i­ties to take off and land in all weathers at all times are an im­por­tant in­di­ca­tion that a car­rier has de­vel­oped full com­bat ca­pa­bil­i­ties, Song noted.

It took five years for the J-15 to evolve from test flights, pi­lot train­ing, through fly­ing by day to fly­ing by day and night, navy.81.cn re­ported.

Com­pared to other coun­tries that have air­craft car­ri­ers and have prac­ticed the tech­nique for decades, China took only a few years, Song said.

The achieve­ment showed how much PLA pi­lots had in­vested in their train­ing, he said.

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