China's first aircraft carrier will be equipped with aircraft developed from fighters made in China, Ministry of Defense spokesman Yang Yujun said Thursday.
Chinese J-15 fighters.[File photo]
Domestic military officials and analysts are predicting that Chinese J-15 fighters, instead of Russia's Su-33 fighter, will be used as many photographs had been published showing the plane on the Liaoning's deck.
The current weak point of the J-15, also known as the Flying Shark, which is said to be a match for US F-18 Hornet fighters, is its Russia-made Al-31 engines which are less powerful than those of the American F-35 fighter, said Hu Siyuan, a professor with the National Defense University PLA China.
"However, the J-15 will be more competitive in future when the Chinese jet is equipped with made-in-China engines because the US jet has only a single engine," he said.
The twin-engined Chinese fighter made its maiden flight in 2009 in northeastern Shenyang.
China's J-31 stealth fighter may also be used on the carrier in future, analysts said.
The J-31 attracted wide public attention in June when some online pictures showed the cutting-edge fighter fully wrapped but with its futuristic shape still discernible.
"Both fighters have twin engines and will have great potential to upgrade weapons load and fighting ability in future," said military analyst Qu Yanbing, adding that the Liaoning would have about 40 fixed-wing aircraft on board.
Yang on Thursday dismissed foreign media reports saying that China is building a second aircraft carrier in Shanghai and that it will be launched late this year.
"Such reports are inaccurate," Yang said at the regular news briefing.
Though the carrier could be combat ready at any time, it will continue to be used for scientific research and experiments as well as military training, Yang said.
"Aircraft carriers can be used for both attack and defense as well as to safeguard the peace and for rescue works in disasters, but, for the Liaoning, experiments and training are its major task," he said.
As for the Liaoning's impact on China's surrounding areas, Yang stressed that the country adheres to the path of peaceful development, independent foreign policy and pursues a defensive national policy.
(Shanghai Daily contributed to the story.)