China begins mass production of fighters for aircraft carrier
Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) Mass production has reportedly begun on China's Shenyang J-15, a carrier-based fighter jet, in a move that indicates Beijing has started picking up the pace in training and development for its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.
China's Global Times and CCTV, both giant state-run media outlets, reported Tuesday that Shenyang Aircraft Corp. has already begun "handing (the planes) over to the military."
Neither outlet gave specifics on the number of fighters produced.
The news comes shortly after China drew global concern by declaring a broad air defense and information zone in the East China Sea.
On the touchy issue of what the world thinks of China, the Global Times was defiant.
"The mass production and delivery of J-15 jets not only breaks apart the slander and doubt of some foreign media, it also serves to further boost the progress and level of training for the Liaoning," the Global Times wrote in Chinese.
Reports said the J-15 is sea-grey color, with the flag of the People's Liberation Army Navy behind the cabin and a flying shark painted on its rear wing. The nose art and tail are said to feature its official designation.
That description differs from the yellow-painted test planes previously spotted landing on the Liaoning.
Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based commentator on military affairs, said that the repainting means the fighters are in service and battle-ready.
"They're pretty much ready. The J-15 (crew) has already completed its training and has begun shifting to a formal force," he said.
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