Chinese state media say the country's navy has successfully landed a fighter jet on an aircraft carrier for the first time, in the latest sign of China's growing military and economic power.
In reports published Sunday, state-run news agencies said the navy landed several Chinese-made J-15 jets on the carrier Liaoning in the past week. The reports said the warplanes also took off successfully.
A senior Chinese military researcher told the China Daily newspaper that the daytime landings and take-offs are a “landmark” in the navy's efforts to develop the combat capability of the Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier.
But Du Wenlong also said more tests must be done before the carrier-based J-15 jets are ready for combat. He said the J-15 pilots have not yet performed landings and take-offs at night or in complex situations.
China Daily quoted another military researcher as saying it will take at least two years for the J-15s to become fully operational. He also predicted the Liaoning will need four to five years to achieve full combat capability.
China bought the vessel as an unfinished Soviet aircraft carrier from Ukraine in 1998 and spent years refurbishing it. The Liaoning entered military service on September 25.
Beijing has been expanding its military capabilities while also making increasingly assertive claims to disputed maritime territories. Those claims have caused growing concern in some of China's neighbor countries.