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F/A-18 Super Hornet on Carrier

J-15 Makes Its Debut
By Harold Hutchison

The ChiComs have lifted the curtain to reveal their new naval fighter, a knockoff of the Russian Su-33 that has been designated the J-15. The plane was revealed as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was visiting China.

According to a report by the Washington Free Beacon, the J-15 may be more capable than the F/A-18s on American carriers. “China’s potential J-15 threat at a minimum justified an investment in better engines for the F/A-18E/F and far more capable air-to-air weapons,” Rick Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center said.

“By giving Secretary of Defense Hagel the honor of the first foreign tour of their first aircraft carrier, China is signaling that in the next decade it will become a global competitor to the United States,” Fisher added.

This is not the first time the ChiComs have unveiled a new combat airplane as a Secretary of Defense visited. In 2011, the ChiComs had the J-20 make its first flight when Robert Gates visited. Gates had fought to halt F-22 production two years prior to his visit.

Hagel visited the PLAN’s only aircraft carrier, the Russian-built Liaoning, which was intended to be the second ship of the Admiral Kuznetsov class. The Admiral Kuznetsov serves with the Russian Navy. The carriers can carry up to 32 fixed-wing aircraft, as well as two dozen helicopters.