November 27, 2012
Credit: Credit: FYJS
BEIJING — China has begun landing J-15 fighters on its first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, following an earlier announcement that pilots had taken off from the ship.
Five pilots landed and took off from Liaoning in the Bohai sea.
The reports say the ship’s arrestor gear is of entirely Chinese design. However, the same reports also say that the J-15 is all-Chinese, when in fact it is a copy of the Sukhoi Su-33. The Chinese media reports, which are sure to have been closely vetted, equate the performance of the J-15 with that of the Boeing “F-18”; the exact mark of F/A-18 was not specified.
The Chinese navy says that the J-15 has proved to be quite compatible with the Liaoning, which it commissioned in September after completing the unfinished hull bought from Ukraine. It is named after the province Liaoning.
Concerning aircraft carrier deck operations, China appears to be mimicking the U.S. Navy, at least as far as the colors of the shirts worn by sailors on the flight deck.
The Chinese navy is using the same seven colors as the U.S. Navy and, allowing for ambiguity in translation, appears to have assigned the same functions to them.
According to a report carried on the website of the military’s newspaper, the PLA Daily, the colors are assigned thus: purple for fueling; red for fire and safety control; green for takeoff, landing and aircraft maintenance; blue for stores and air supply; white for personnel engaged in safety, medical, and political work, and those temporarily aboard the ship; yellow for controlling officers; and brown for aircraft duties, perhaps meaning those from the air wing. The U.S. Navy does not allocate a color for personnel engaged in political work.
“Because of the great noise when aircraft are taking off and landing, all communication is done by hand signals,” the PLA Daily says. “Raising both arms and forefingers and making a circle [or circles] is an indication to raise the blast deflectors,” of which there are three. “Raising an arm vertically from the head and sweeping to a level position tells the deck officer that the deck is clear. A thumbs-up from the pilot indicates that all is ready.”