The Straits Times
Published on Nov 26, 2012

China praises dead engineer for work in aircraft carrier programme


BEIJING (AP) - China's government gave hero's praise Monday to a senior engineer on its aircraft carrier programme who died of a heart attack after witnessing the first landing of a plane on the ship, underscoring the project's huge national prestige.

State broadcaster CCTV ran news of Mr Luo Yang's death as its first item on the noon news broadcast, an unusual honor for a scientist who was previously unknown outside of the carrier programme. Mr Luo, 51, oversaw the development of the J-15 fighter-bomber planes designated for the ship, which is called Liaoning after the province where it is based.

The coverage illustrates the priority Beijing has placed on the programme, seen as representing China's rise from poverty to economic and political might over the past three decades. The carrier was built in the former Soviet Union and is seen as a test platform for future Chinese-built vessels.

Few details were available about Mr Luo, who died on Sunday. A man who answered the phone at his employer, the Shenyang Aircraft Corp., confirmed his death but declined to give details. The company produces the bulk of China's modern military jets - many of them, like the J-15, derived from Russian models.