The naval version of China’s JL-9 trainer jet, speculated to be an aircraft carrier-operable aircraft, has made its first successful flight.
On Wednesday, developer Guizhou Aviation Industry Corporation, a subsidiary of state-run AVIC, announced the aircraft took to the skies for the first time on May 12 at Anshun Airport in Guizhou Province.
Chinese state media have widely speculated the jet could be developed for operations aboard Liaoning and Shandong aircraft carriers.
Observing pictures posted by the manufacturer on its WeChat account, the Naval Mountain Eagle is not fitted with a tail hook that allows for any jet to land on a carrier.
However, a drogue parachute on the tail of the original version has been replaced with air brakes on the tip of each wing.
These changes will make the trainer more like a carrier-based aircraft because such an aircraft does not have a drogue parachute, and the air brakes can help decelerate, helping pilot cadets learn to control speed when landing on an aircraft carrier, Shanghai-based eastday.com wrote on Wednesday.
While some Chinese military experts speculate a tail hook could be fitted on the jet for carrier-based missions in the future, others say China’s JL-10 trainer is more suitable for modification.