China has stepped up efforts to develop Catapult-Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) operations for its carriers to launch more heavily armed Shenyang J-15 multi-role fighters.
The J-15 fighters might have new engines by the time this carrier takes to sea in the 2020s, China Topix reported Friday.
A CATOBAR launch and recovery system will also allow China's third carrier (Type 003) to launch heavier aircraft such as AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control) planes and cargo aircraft.
Earlier this year, photographs of the Huangdicun Airbase posted online indicated that Chinese aircraft carriers would be configured for Catapult-Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) operations.
The J-15 aircraft, in photos, appeared to have a catapult launch bar on its nose wheel, making it likely to be one of the first Chinese aircraft to test CATOBAR infrastructure. The Chinese J-15 is powered with Russian AL-31 turbofan engines.
An aircraft carrier is currently being constructed using the Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) method of aircraft operations in Dalian, China.
STOBAR makes it more difficult to operate heavy and less-powerful aircraft in seagoing carrier operations, preventing China from taking full advantage of its air power. Whereas, use of the enhanced CATOBAR system on future carriers will support the operation of a well-rounded carrier air wing, with heavier and more efficient aircraft.