Work Underway to Enhance Capabilities of China’s Aircraft Carrier Liaoning
(Source: CGTN.com; issued April 16, 2018)
China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was commissioned into the People's Liberation Army Navy in 2012 and work has since been ongoing to enhance its combat capabilities.

The vessel is a refurbished former Soviet aircraft carrier that went through eight years of retrofitting. It is deployed in the Navy's North Sea Fleet.

The Liaoning is conventionally powered with steam turbines and can reach a maximum speed of no less than 28 knots (51.9 km/h).

Xu Ying is a pilot flying a J-15 fighter jet. He served in the air force before joining the naval carrier Liaoning.

The 17-year veteran says a ski-jump take-off is much easier than landing, which requires more precision on the deck of the carrier. He told CGTN that to fly well and land precisely on the carrier's deck, one needs a strong body and mind – a little bit luck of luck also helps.

The Liaoning aircraft carrier has a total flight deck area of more than 15,100 square meters, which is divided into a launching area, a recovery area and a parking area.

It is capable of carrying different types of aircraft, including the J-15 fighters, as well as surveillance and anti-submarine helicopters. Its weapon platforms include anti-air missiles, close-in weapon systems, and anti-torpedo systems.

The main equipment and systems onboard the Liaoning are all domestically developed, involving more than 1,200 types of key technologies.

As part of the aviation support system, the jet blast deflector (JBD), or blast fence, can withstand temperatures as high as 1,800 degrees Celsius. It's a safety device to redirect the high energy exhaust from the jet engine.

Lu Qiangqiang, the carrier's executive officer, worked as a frigate captain in the Navy's North Sea fleet.

He explained to CGTN that every workflow on the carrier was designed by the crew members. It took them years to optimize some of the processes. Over the years, they have greatly improved the efficiency of aircraft launch and recovery.

"This is a very tough process, but we have made it," Lu added.

Since the carrier was commissioned in 2012, the crew has completed hundreds of training and testing programs to improve the carrier's capability.

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China Reportedly Ramps Up Testing of New Long-Range Air-Launched Missile
(Source: Sputnik News; posted April 13, 2018)
The People's Liberation Army's new weapons system is said to be analogous to the Kinzhal, a new, highly maneuverable, hypersonic air-launched Russian missile system whose existence was unveiled last month.

The Chinese military has conducted five flight tests of a new nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) and a modified long-range strategic bomber to go along with it, sources with knowledge of US intelligence assessments on the PLA have told The Diplomat.

The unnamed missile, classified by US intelligence as the CH-AS-X-13, is a two-stage, solid-fuel ballistic missile with a 3,000 km range, and has been undergoing testing since late 2016, with the last test conducted in January 2018, a source speaking to the magazine said. The missile, which can be fitted with both conventional and nuclear payloads, is believed to be a light-weight composite materials-based variant of China's DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile.

The last two tests were launched from a modified H-6K, China's license-built version of the Tupolev Tu-16 long-range, air-refuelable strategic bomber. The modifications, reportedly made by H-6 manufacturer Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation, are said to have given the bomber ALBM delivery capability.

According to The Diplomat, with a combat radius of nearly 6,000 km for the modified H-6K, and the additional 3,000 km range for the CH-AS-X-13, the new weapons system will hypothetically be able to carry out strikes against the contiguous United States, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, and other US territories in the Pacific.

According to US intelligence, the new weapon will wrap up testing and be ready for deployment by 2025.

Russia has already acquired ALBM launch capability with Kinzhal ('Dagger'), a highly maneuverable, high speed variant of the Iskander-M missile system with nuclear capability. The Kinzhal launches from the MiG-31 interceptor aircraft.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov has confirmed that Kinzhal missiles are capable of hitting both stationary and moving targets, including enemy aircraft carriers, destroyers and cruisers. Defense Ministry officials have also boasted that the unique flight and technical characteristics of the Kinzhal and its MiG-31 carrier mean that the system presently has no analogues in the world.

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