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The Birth of China’s Aircraft Carrier Program: Military Analysis

Brian Kalman

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Dec. 21, 2016

The Liaoning CV-16 aircraft carrier and assigned naval aviation units conducted their first live fire training exercises in the Bohai Sea sometime last week.

The drills exhibited the J-15 Flying Shark’s ability to carry both PL-12 air-to-air missiles and YJ-83 anti-ship missiles aloft, despite the weight limitations imposed by the ski-jump STOBAR operations inherent in the Liaoning’s design. STOBAR, or Short Take Off-But Arrested Recovery, is a form of aircraft carrier operation that requires an angled ski-jump ramp to aid aircraft in getting airborne on take-off, and uses a series of cables to arrest the aircraft upon landing.

The Liaoning also engaged aerial targets with close-in defense systems, and practiced coordinated maneuvers with escorting frigates and destroyers.