An AP story at Military.com reports that the Chinese Navy has successfully landed one of their J-15 (the carrierized version of the Su-33) aboard the Liaoning aircraft carrier.
We here at DT figure there are two ways of looking at this development: You can say that this proves the threat in the Pacific Rim is real and the defense budget needs to be adjusted accordingly, which means a shift from a ground war focus back to the good ol’ days of wars at sea.
OR you could say that all the Chinese have done is land a jet on a carrier, something the Brits first did on December 3, 1945. Now launch and recover 35 well-armed aircraft per cycle around the clock for three or four days. And then add another carrier or two in the AOR and try to make the airwings play nice together.
Remember — although the economics are different — the navies of the former Soviet Union all attempted to embrace convential carrier operations in the late ’90s. The net-net of their efforts was a fundamental understanding that flying off of the boat is harder than it looks — and it looks hard. As a result they sold one of their carriers to another country — China.