We may recall that the Chinese admirals and Naval strategists were not in favour of acquiring an aircraft carrier for the PLA-Navy as the Fleet Air Arm had outlived its utility. It was termed as a floating airfield to facilitate take off and landing of the naval jet fighters mid-ocean. Strategically speaking, a belligerent nation could carry its bomb-delivery apparatus as close to the enemy country as possible. The war was thus carried to the enemy land and devastation or destruction thereof was just in their heartland. Nevertheless the Chinese Naval Warfare specialists were not convinced of the martial utility of the Fleet Air Arm and had put projects concerning a carrier in cold storage.
Meanwhile, the Chinese ballistic experts kept on working feverishly on a defence project to design, develop and test a new long-range ballistic missile that would destroy the aircraft carrier while it was still many miles away from the sea coast and was not in the ken of the electronic surveillance machine. In 2011, when the Chinese military ware manufacturer designed, manufactured and displayed the deadly fangs of its Long Range Naval Missile that could destroy an enemy aircraft carrier before it could be even seen by the eye in the Sky, the Naval admirals all over the world sat back to take stock of the just developing strategic situation on the high seas and across the oceans.
The Chinese government named the new missile as the Carrier Killer and in the Chinese language named it as Dung Feng – the Easterly Wind. While the American admirals posted in the Pacific region were losing their sleep over the destructive capability and range of the Carrier Killer, the Chinese admirals too had a second thought on the utility or otherwise of an aircraft carrier.
After many a brainstorming sessions, when it was time to say AYE or NAY for induction of an operational aircraft carrier, the PLA Navy said AYE with a loud voice and thumped the tables too.
The Project Air Arm was launched with great fanfare a couple of years ago and all concerned went full steam ahead to have an indigenous aircraft take off from and land on the deck of their own carrier, Liaoning.
The news broke on Sunday, 25 November 2012 that the first China-made Jet Fighter took off from and landed on the mostly home- made aircraft carrier, Liaoning. The joy of the Chinese people and the government, what to say about the Chinese Navy personnel, knew no bounds. They have done it. Asians have taken a lead and the result is before one and all to see and appreciate.
Once the aircraft lands on the deck, its rear device is caught by a strong steel hook and the high speed is arrested and brought to zero for the Jet to come to a standstill. The Jet Fighter flying on a mission to an enemy airspace is catapulted with great force in firmament where its engines start automatically and roar with a deafening sound. The Jet is airborne in no time and proceeds on mission known or unknown. It disappears into the blue skies making way for the new catapulted Jet. Thus the People’s Republic of China too has enrolled itself as an honoured member of the Millionaire Club. Leading the members of this club is the United States of America with as many as eleven aircraft carriers. Other developed and developing countries of the world are distant seconds with one to four carriers in the inventory. India is an old member of the Carrier Club with one carrier to its credit.
China has done it once again in the name of defence and the age-old Dragon has now one more reason to breathe fire as and when it wishes.