China Buys Jet Fighters for Aircraft Carriers

By Zhang Fangming, Central News Agency
August 27, 2007 Updated: August 27, 2007

TOYKO—According to a report from Japan's Sankei Shimbun News since taking a step forward by having its own aircraft carrier, now China has ordered fighter jets from foreign powers for use on its aircraft carriers.

Observers believe that China will build two to three medium-sized aircraft carriers before 2020 to ensure it is marine combat ready.

The report quoting a military source said that China has already ordered 10 military planes from Russia or the Ukraine, including the Russian-made Su-33 fighter plane, a modification of the Su-27 model. These military aircraft will be used for testing and training to evaluate their combat capabilities.

The report said that China might also have already purchased braking equipment for on-deck landings, and it has already started its study and research of various related control and electronic systems.

The military source pointed out that China's aircraft carrier construction program might use the former Soviet Union's unfinished 58,500 tons heavy aircraft carrying cruiser Varyag that was purchased at auction and which is being modified in Dalian City, Liaoning Province, for experimental purposes. Its expected completion date is 2012. By 2020, China will build two to three similar medium-sized aircraft carriers, to complete its three aircraft carrier target.

The report noted that China wants to establish a fleet of aircraft carriers with the intention, on the one hand, to improve offshore operations, and on the other, to contain the United States' intervention in case combat with Taiwan breaks out. But due to technical problems, China's aircraft carrier combat capability is limited, which is the distinct opposite of the United States, which has a powerful fleet of aircraft carriers.