Key Chinese official behind jets for aircraft carrier dead

Nov 26 2012, 20:00 IST
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SummaryThe much publicised landing of a fighter jet on China's first ever aircraft carrier ended up on a sad note as a key official involved in developing the aircraft died of heart attack.

The much publicised landing of a fighter jet on China's first ever aircraft carrier ended up on a sad note as a key official involved in developing the aircraft died of heart attack.

The head of production for China's new J-15, dubbed by Chinese officials as the 'cradle of China's fighter jets' died of heart attack yesterday while on duty, official media here reported today.

"Mourn General Manager Luo Yang. Luo will be immortal," read the electronic signs at the gates of China's Shenyang Aircraft Corp (SAC), which developed the new aircraft said.

Luo, who headed the group which developed the aircraft, was also chairman and chief manager of the SAC.

"Luo experienced a sudden heart attack while participating in flight landing training for China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, around noon on Sunday", state-run Xinhua news agency quoted official China Central Television (CCTV)report as saying.

A new J-15 fighter jet was used as part of the landing exercise.

Yesterday's event was first for landing of the aircraft on the carrier as well as the debut for the new jet, which now has been identified as the aircraft to be used for China's new aircraft carriers to be developed in future.

In many ways it was a debut performance for J-15 too as China unveiled it only in the recent weeks.

Russians specialists said it closely resembled Su-33 and carried a Russian engine.

J-15 is capable of firing anti-ship, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and precision guided bombs, according a report in China.org.cn.

Military experts believe its capabilities are comparable to Russia's Sukhoi Su-33 and the US F/A-18 Hornet, it said.

Meanwhile Chinese officials said successful landing exercises on China's first aircraft carrier mean the country is now capable to deploy fighter jets on the carrier.

Pilots have mastered key skills to ensure the success of the take-off and the landing, especially under unfavourable conditions such as poor visibility and unstable airflow, said Vice-Admiral Zhang Yongyi, a deputy commander of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

"It's like dancing on a knifepoint as the aircraft have to land on a very limited space," Zhang said while commenting on the successful flight landing recently conducted on the carrier, the Liaoning.

"We have done all these test flights from the very beginning, and finally we mastered the key skills for the landing of carrier-borne aircraft," said Zhang, who is also the commander-in-chief in charge of the tests and training program of the flight landing.

Currently, the Chinese

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