For me, carrying a complement of aircraft is one thing, the other is the combat capability of those aircraft.
Liaoning is crippled because of the lack of steam catapults, and so her aircraft can't necessarily sortie with heavy combat loads, or if they do, they greatly sacrifice the internal fuel load and range for the aircraft. So there's other technical aspects to consider about the effectiveness of the systems.
What sounded more like a rant than analysis, SMN, on Sept. 23, reported the new J-15 was incapable of flying from the Liaoning with heavy weapons, “effectively crippling its attack range and firepower.”
The fighter can take off and land on the carrier with two YJ-83K anti-ship missiles, two PL-8 air-to-air missiles, and four 500-kilogram bombs. But a weapons “load exceeding 12 tons will not get it off the carrier’s ski jump ramp.” This might prohibit it from carrying heavier munitions such as PL-12 medium-range air-to-air missiles.
To further complicate things, the J-15 can carry only two tons of weapons while fully fueled. “This would equip it with no more than two YJ-83K and two PL-8 missiles,” thus the “range of the YJ-83K prepared for the fighter will be shorter than comparable YJ-83K missiles launched from larger PLAN [People’s Liberation Army Navy] vessels. The J-15 will be boxed into less than 120 [kilometers] of attack range.”
Losing the ability to carry the PL-12 medium-range air-to-air missiles will make the J-15 an “unlikely match” against other foreign carrier-based fighters.
“Even the Vietnam People’s Air Force can outmatch the PL-8 short-range missile. Without space for an electronic countermeasure pod, a huge number of J-15s must be mobilized for even simple missions, a waste for the PLA Navy in using the precious space aboard its sole aircraft carrier in service.”
So you could set up a few aircraft with Air to air only loadouts, and a strike group focusing on the heavier weapons for example.
< Message edited by AlmightyTallest -- 8/31/2014 3:29:01 PM >