Chinese fighter pilots are practicing landings on the country’s first aircraft carrier, the authorities have confirmed.
Military authorities confirmed Sunday that fighter jets have been conducting take-off and landing training on aircraft carrier Liaoning, reported Global Times.
A defence ministry report said that jets have practiced "touch-and-go" landings, a maneuver that involves landing on the flight deck of the carrier and taking off again without coming to a stop.
It is the first time Chinese authorities have acknowledged that jet pilots have been training on the Liaoning, said the media report.
Online photos have shown the Shenyang J-15 carrier-based fighter making at least several fly-bys above the carrier and military experts have long speculated that "touch-and-go" landings are being practiced by pilots.
Lan Yun, editor of Modern Ships magazine, said "touch-and-go" landings are the last step in primary training for carrier-based fighter pilots.
"In real operations, if pilots judge they cannot complete a landing, they must immediately open full afterburner and takeoff from the flight deck again," Lan was quoted as saying.
"The touch-and-go landings enable the pilots to experience the feeling of a carrier landing and takeoff, and train them to properly handle failed landings," he added.
Monday's announcement came a day after photos of a two-seat land/sea attack variant of the J-15 carrier-based fighter were uploaded to the Internet.
Web users claimed the two-seat fighter made its maiden flight at Shenyang Saturday, two days after the maiden flight of SAC's first stealth fighter, the "J-31".
Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo had told the China Central Television that the Chinese navy will focus on the development of aircraft carriers and carrier-based fighters, new destroyers and frigates, submarines and land-based strike fighters.