Flying Shark Killed 1 Pilot 4 Months Ago
South China Morning Post — the largest English-language publication in Hong Kong — reports ‘Fatal crash of Chinese J-15 carrier jet puts question mark over troubled programme’
The J-15 “Flying Shark” is the Chinese clone of the Sukhoi Su 33 Sea Flanker. This is the first public failure of the Chinese carrier programme,yet it happened 4ish months ago, so why bother announcing it now?
And losing 1 pilot after years of albeit light carrier operations is actually very impressive. The probability of surviving an ejection is around 50%, and much less if close to the ground.
Is this China subtly signalling to the Americans that it has no intention to actually fight a hot war in the South China Seas? After all, the prospects in November look grim: the US would either be lead by a known hawk (Hilary Clinton) or unknown aspiring-dictator (Donald Trump).
With the parallel release of rare videos of its successful anti-missile system tests, it seems that China is stressing that it is on the defensive rather than the offensive.