BEIJING -- The Chinese military has successfully landed a fighter jet on the Liaoning, China's first seaworthy aircraft carrier, according to a report on Sunday by Xinhua, the state news agency.
China Central Television showed video of the jet, the J-15, landing on the deck of the carrier, which was put into service in September after years of construction work. The video also showed the jet, which is painted yellow with the number 552 written in red beneath the cockpit, successfully taking off from the carrier.
Many Chinese and foreigners see the Liaoning as a symbol of China's military modernization and its desire to extend its combat capacity.
But the carrier will not be combat-ready for some time, and foreign military analysts say China's military abilities and budget still lag far behind those of the United States, which is China's greatest rival for influence in the western Pacific.
China bought the carrier years ago from Ukraine, where it had been called the Varyag. The Xinhua report said the carrier had undergone a series of "sailing and technological tests" since Sept. 25, when it was formally put into service by the People's Liberation Army, whose navy is modernizing more rapidly than any other military branch. Xinhua said the carrier had completed more than 100 training and test programs.
The report said the J-15 jet was designed and made in China and is the nation's "first generation multipurpose carrier-borne fighter jet." It is able to carry anti-ship, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, as well as precision-guided bombs, Xinhua reported. The jet is comparable to Russia's Su-33 and the United States' F-18, according to Xinhua.