This is interesting: as far as anyone knows, the Chinese have not conducted fixed-wing flight operations from the deck of their brand new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. We've seen photos of Z-8 helicopters parked on and hovering over the flight deck, as well as pictures showing what are assumed to be mock-ups of the Shenyang J-15, a Chinese-made version of the Russian-designed Sukhoi Su-33 carrier fighter.
However, pictures that emerged on Chinese Internet forums of the ship's commissioning ceremony very deliberately show what might be aircraft tire skidmarks on Liaoning's flight deck just in front of the ship's arrestor cables (other pictures from the commissioning show a jet that resembles one of the J-15 mock ups sitting inside her hangar deck). If you look very closely at the photo above you can see the skidmarks between the cables and bleachers set up for the ceremony, see the image below this post for a close-up view.
Now, who knows, maybe the Liaoning's crew took a tow-truck for a spin and stomped on the brakes as they crossed the cables to give the appearance that someone has done at least a touch-and-go on the ship. Or, maybe someone has actually done a touch-and-go during one of Liaoning's many sea trials over the last year.
Killer Apps has asked around to see if anyone knows anything about flight ops on the Liaoning, or China's "starter carrier," as Naval War College professor Andrew Erickson has called her.
(Interesting side note: the ship's hull, which was built by the USSR in Ukraine, used to be known as Varyag. Roughly translated, that's Russian for Viking. The founders of what would eventually become modern Russia, the Kievan Rus, traced their roots to Vikings, according to legend.)
John Reed reports on the frontiers of cyber war and the latest in military technology for Killer Apps.