China Aircraft Carrier Varyag
China's combat capabilities jumped a notch higher as its first sea-operational aircraft carrier, Liaoning, saw the first landing of a Chinese made combat plane, cementing the nation's reputation as a rising military power in the Asia-Pacific region.
The undated successful exercise was reported Sunday by China's official new agency, Xinhua, which also said that "capabilities of the (Liaoning) carrier platform and the J-15 have been tested, meeting all requirements and achieving good compatibility."
The J-15 combat Chinese navy jet, according to Xinhua, also debuted with the successful flight landing and was described in the same report as "designed by and made in China ... and is is able to carry multi-type anti-ship, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, as well as precision-guided bombs."
"The J-15 has comprehensive capabilities comparable to those of the Russian Su-33 jet and the U.S. F-18 ... and is China's first generation multi-purpose carrier-borne fighter jet," added the state news agency.
International media reports also cited official footages of the exercise broadcasted by the government-owned China Central Television, in which "the video also showed the jet, painted yellow with the number 552 written in red beneath the cockpit, successfully taking off from the carrier," The New York Times said.
Liaoning is originally a Ukrainian warship called the Varyag, The NY Times said, acquired and reconstructed by China's People's Liberation Army, introducing it to full service September this year, which analysts said represents the accelerated military build-up of the world's second biggest economy.
This development is in line with the nation's long-declared military ambitions, according to The Associated Press (AP), as previously shown by the display of fresh combat hardwares that include China's "first test flight of a stealth fighter jet in early 2011, an elite helicopter unit and the launch of the aircraft carrier."
China's deliberate show of military might is its way of furthering its growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region and to counter the perceived 'pivot' to Asia of the United States, which has been seeking to re-emphasise its influence in the area, highlighted last year by its reenergised military cooperation with Australia, analysts said.
However, citing analysis by international military experts, "China's military abilities and budget still lag far behind those of the United States," The NY Times said.
This despite reports by AP that China's PLA has been constantly ramping up its defence spending in the past two decades, officially admitting of allocating $US100 billion for military budget in 2012, representing an increase of 12.7 per cent from last year's level.
This article is copyrighted by IBTimes.com.au, the business news leader