China’s Testing Woes Remind That Developing Carrier Planes Is Hard | Danger

The ongoing trials of China’s first aircraft carrier and her ship-based jet fighters represent a major leap ahead in capability for the People’s Liberation Army Navy. But the hype surrounding Lioaning’s debut test cruise last summer and the inaugural landing of her J-15 fighters in late November masks an important truth, one the world’s other carrier powers have long known.

Developing a flattop and its planes is hard, requiring years of trial and error and no small amount of risk. And while China’s ascent as a naval power might seem unstoppable, the saga of China’s first seagoing fighter pilots proves otherwise. A lot of things can, have and will go wrong, casting into doubt whether Beijing will possess a truly useful carrier capability any time soon.

via China’s Testing Woes Remind That Developing Carrier Planes Is Hard | Danger Room | Wired.com.

Here’s why Danger Room, Wired’s milblog, consistently pisses me off.

Yes, China faces challenges in fielding a genuine carrier air capability. But the examples cited aren’t all that indicative of an inability to field that force. Two of the three incidents noted are simply aircraft maintenance problems, the kind that occur to both land and sea based aircraft, and the third is a arresting cable parting, something that still occasionally happens in our Navy. And guess what? In none of the three incidents was the plane written off or the crew killed.

That’s not a bad record.

It’s not like our Navy never has any aviation safety issues.

2 thoughts on “China’s Testing Woes Remind That Developing Carrier Planes Is Hard | Danger”

  1. Amen. Seems we think “any time soon” means before “Dancing with the Stars” is over. Five to ten years, max, they will have the spectrum of capabilties of modern naval aviation. Likely with much less fuss and muss because they have our example and lessons to copy.

  2. Most of the battle is knowing it’s possible. We’ve given them close to 100 years of an example and they have Engineers that can calculate stresses as well as we can. After all, we trained their Engineers.

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