Pilots of the J-15 fighter jet conducted multiple takeoff and landing exercises on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, when China was battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“An aircraft carrier is a large warship with many people concentrated in its cabins, making it vulnerable to infectious diseases. Being able to successfully conduct related missions indicated that the Liaoning has done a great job in controlling the COVID-19,” Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie told the Global Times on Tuesday.
The offshore drills were being conducted on the warship in Bohai Strait earlier this month. Naval Aviation University conducted safety evaluations to ensure the success of both training and epidemic control work, PLA Daily reported.
Training and developing carrier-based fighter pilots on an actual carrier rather than a simulated airfield is very important, as fighter jets are a carrier's weapons and the pilots need to gain experience under real combat scenarios, Li said.
Last week, China’s Guizhou Aviation Industry Corporation hinted at modifying JL-9 Mountain Eagle jet to build a new carrier-based jet trainer.
The Chinese Navy now has a complete system for independently training carrier-based pilots, which has a significant meaning for its overall aircraft carrier program, said Weihutang, a column on military affairs affiliated with CCTV.