China's Carrier Jet Trainer

In case ya'll didn't see this earlier, it's a snapshot of China's new carrier jet trainer dubbed the JT-9 that China Defense Blog spotted on the PLA Daily website. Yup, building this trainer is a serious step toward qualifying pilots to fly off China's soon-to-be complete aircraft carrier Shi Lang. The PLAN intends to use that ship to figure out how to operate an aircraft carrier -- one of the world's most complex and powerful weapon systems -- successfully.

Here's a great broken English translation of what the little jet is designed to do from the Chinese site:

"This type of fighter trainer will be mainly used by the pilots of the ship-based fighters to conduct simulated take-off and landing training on carrier deck."

These simulated take-offs and landings are probably being done at several mock-ups of the Shi Lang's flight deck -- complete with arrestor cables and a ski jump ramp -- reported to exist in China. Once pilots learn the basics of flying off a carrier, they'll likely move on to the J-15 -- an upgraded Chinese version of Russia's Sukhoi Su-33 naval fighter.

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