China’s aircraft carrier has launched and landed her first jet fighters, as shown in photos and videos released over the weekend by Beijing’s state media.
The milestone comes 14 years after the communist state acquired the derelict flattop Varyag from Ukraine, and nearly 18 months after the refurbished, rechristened Liaoning set sail from northern China.
With the commencement of fixed-wing flight operations on Nov. 23, China joins an exclusive club of just five other nations — the U.S., Russia, France, India and Brazil — that operate full-size carriers with fixed-wing planes.
Liaoning‘s first take-offs and landings represent an undeniable triumph for China’s fast-growing navy. But Beijing still has a long way to go in learning how to use its new flattop and her jets.