China's Liaoning aircraft carrier formation has conducted military drills in multiple areas of China's waters, the first time the formation has demonstrated its power to the people it's protecting.
J-15 fighter jets took off from the carrier, and launched missiles to destroy the intended targets during the practice, according to articles on 81.cn, the official news website of People's Liberation Army (PLA).
A J-15 aircraft touching down on the Liaoning carrier in November, 2016. /CFP Photo
Yu Zhong, Director of Military Training in the Chinese Navy's Political Department, made the following comments in an interview with CCTV Mandarin:
"Combat capacity of this aircraft carrier formation has reached a higher level."
The Liaoning formation sails in South China Sea on January 2, 2017. /81.cn Photo
Footage obtained by CCTV Mandarin shows a fighter jet flying at a very low altitude — seemingly only meters away from the sea's surface.
Still image of the video showing J-15 flying at low altitude. /CCTV Mandarin
"Successfully performing such a dangerous action signified that this pilot has already mastered control of his aircraft," Senior Colonel Du Wenlong, researcher at PLA's Academy of Military Sciences, said after watching the footage.
A still image from the video footage showing J-15 launching missiles. /81.cn Photo
"It's a historical breakthrough for the pilots to shift from 'able to fly' to 'able to fight'" in just four years, Du added.
There is also an interesting detail in the footage: a handwritten English sentence "Shoot them!" on a pilot's helmet.
Still image of the video showing the words "Shoot them!" on a J-15 pilot's helmet. /CCTV
"I wrote this to cheer myself, and that missile, hoping it could hit the target as planned," said the pilot Xu Ying.
Liaoning is the Chinese Navy's first aircraft carrier. There's no example for the supporting teams to learn from. Every workflow on the carrier was designed by the crew members, and carried out by the same people. It took them years to optimize some of the processes.
From a half-built shell, to an aircraft carrier that can be actually deployed in combat, China is realizing another miracle in its military history.