PLA VTOL fighter could turn reefs into ‘unsinkable carriers’

China is planning to continue developing its short-range vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) fighter, according to Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik International, cited by the military news web portal of China’s state-run Reference News.

Vasily Kashin, a researcher with the Moscow-based non-governmental research organization the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said that the aircraft will be mainly used for maritime combat.

Theoretically the fighter could be used in areas without airports, including difficult and mountainous terrain, according to the report. The Soviet Union tried to use vehicle-towed platforms to allow its VTOL Yakovlev Yak-38 strike fighter to operate in Afghanistan in the 1980s. However, in mountainous regions the aircraft’s lift jets were ineffective, so such a large aircraft found vertical take-off difficult, according to the website. Continue reading