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Last Sunday China's leadership announced that a J-15 tactical jet had landed on the Liaoning, the refitted Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag, for the first time. The news came as little surprise. The flattop has been in commission for over a year now and has undergone a series of sea trials preparing it to conduct flight operations.

The People's Liberation Army had successfully conducted the first landing tests of the J-15 fighter jet on its sole aircraft carrier, Xinhua said yesterday. The Chinese-made J-15 fighter landed on the Liaoning carrier, formerly known as the Varyag, during recent exercises, it said. The ship's crew had completed more than 100 tests and training exercises since the vessel was formally commissioned to the navy on September 25, it said.

When asked about the differences between the Liaoning and Russia's aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, Cui said that the Liaoning was refitted from the Varyag, the sister ship of the Admiral Kuznetsov. Both ships were produced by the former Soviet Union. The Admiral Kuznetsov was in fact the first aircraft carrier independently built by the former Soviet Union, and many of its design flaws were corrected in the Varyag.

The first Chinese aircraft carrier, refurbished out of the Varyag unfinished Ukrainian carrier, sailed for its 10th sea trial on 28 August 2012. The Chinese official news agency Xinhua, while putting this fact out in the public domain cited its naval experts as surmising that the 304 meter long carrier with a beam (width) of 37 meters and displacing 58,500 tons, will be inducted into the naval service later this year.