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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

China boasts of home-grown arresting gear for aircraft carrier

Central News Agency

2012/11/26 23:12:49

Taipei, Nov. 26 (CNA) China emphasized Monday that the arresting gear used to conduct China's first landing of a fighter jet on the aircraft carrier Liaoning was developed on its own.

China's aircraft-borne J-15 fighter jet is widely believed to be a copy of the Russia-made Su-33, but the Chinese Navy said on its website that the arresting gear was made by China with its own technology because Russia refused to sell it to its southern neighbor.

The arresting gear, which catches high-speed landing aircraft and brings them to a halt within a short distance, is necessary for the safe landing of an aircraft on the vessel.

All countries that own aircraft carriers keep the sophisticated technology used in their arresting gears a secret, and many political observers had questioned China's ability to develop its own system after buying the unfinished Russia aircraft Varyag and converting it into its first aircraft carrier.

The Chinese Navy's website reported that a civil airplane with 200 people onboard needs an airstrip 1,700-meters-long to land, but on the flight deck, a fighter jet descending at a high speed has to be brought to a halt within 200 meters.

That means the aircraft has to be stopped within two or three seconds after its tailhook engages the catching cable.

The catching cable must engage the aircraft's tailhook but not catch its landing gear or it may cause the airplane to veer sharply, a requirement that takes a lot of trial and error to get right.

"We started from scratch, dealing with problems when we came up against them, and eventually mastered the technology needed for conducting takeoffs and landings of aircraft on the warship," the website quoted Vice Admiral Zhang Yongyi, who is in charge of training pilots for carrier-borne aircraft, as saying.

The TV footage of the landing of a J-15 on Liaoning made waves among Chinese Internet users Monday, especially military buffs, who imitated the gesture of a crewman who squatted on the flight deck using his middle and index finger to clear an aircraft for takeoff.

Many of them lauded the gesture, which is similar to that used by U.S. flight deck crew, as a move of confidence and pride.

(By Charles Kang and Maubo Chang)

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