SODOM & GOMORRAH: Chinese press announced this last weekend that the first successful takeoff and landing of a fighter jet from an aircraft carrier has taken place.
The carrier Liaoning is the only such vessel in the Chinese navy. China purchased a Soviet aircraft carrier (the Varyag) from Ukraine 13 years ago and spent about a decade remodeling and reworking the vessel to be included in the modern Chinese fleet.
Of special interest is the new Chinese fighter jet, the J-15, which military analysts are comparing to the American F-18 and the Russian SU-33.
The tests are significant. They come at the peak of maritime tensions between China and its neighbors over several groups of islands. It also marks China’s graduation into great power status. Until the commissioning of the Liaoning, China was the only permanent member of the United Nations Security Council not to have an aircraft carrier in its arsenal. China has been working to build a navy with which it can project its power abroad for years. An aircraft carrier, even just this one, is a significant symbol of its ability to exert influence abroad.