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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, November 25, 2012 11:55 pm

China mourns death of aircraft carrier engineer

The Associated Press

China's government is mourning a key engineer behind its aircraft carrier program who died of a heart attack after witnessing the first landing of a plane on the ship.

State broadcaster CCTV ran Luo Yuan's death as its first item on Monday's noon news broadcast, an unusual honor for a previously obscure scientist. The 51-year-old Luo oversaw development of the J-15 fighter-bomber planes designated for the ship - called the Liaoning after the province where it is based.

The reverence paid to Luo after his death Sunday underscores the huge importance Beijing attaches to the program, seen as representing China's rise from poverty to political might over the past three decades.

The ship was built in the former Soviet Union and it is still years away from being battle-worthy.