In a show of force, China announced that their only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning has successfully carried out live fire exercises and is combat ready.
Accompanied by multiple ships, the Liaoning launched their J-15 fighters and participated in a variety of exercises which included airborne attacks. China moved the carrier into the contested South China Sea on Monday. The Liaoning battle group steamed past the Pratas Islands, which is Taiwan-controlled.
China has been building artificial islands in the South China Sea claiming control of the entire area despite objections by Taiwan and the United States. Satellite images have shown China building airstrips and placing large anti-aircraft weapons on the islands.
The carrier, destroyers and frigates carried out exercises covering air interception, sea-based attacks and air-defense as well as reconnaissance, early warning and anti-missile systems.
China-developed J-15 fighters carried live ammunition and performed strike exercises, the ministry said. Footage on state broadcaster China Central Television showed fighters launching missiles and hitting targets, and one pilot wore a helmet with “SHOOT IT” written in English across the top.
The Liaoning was commissioned in 2013 after being purchased as an incomplete hull from Ukraine more than a decade ago. – AP
Featured Image of the Chinese Liaoning aircraft carrier by AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Tang, File