China has successfully landed a fighter jet on its first aircraft carrier, which entered service two months ago, the country's official news agency confirmed today. The Liaoning aircraft carrier underscores China's ambitions to be a leading Asian naval power, but it is not expected to carry a full complement of planes or be ready for combat for some time. Xinhua News Agency said the landing exercise marked the debut of the J-15 fighter jet, a carrier-based fighter-bomber developed by China from Russia's Sukhoi Su-33.
The Defense Ministry's website carried photos of the jet taking off from and landing on the carrier. Citing unnamed naval sources, Xinhua said that the carrier platform and J-15 capabilities met all requirements and achieved "good compatibility." Xinhua says the J-15 is able to carry anti-ship, air-to-air, and air-to-ground missiles, and precision-guided bombs. (Read more aircraft carrier stories.)