2008: The Ukraine wants to become the international capital of carrier aviation
training. Decades ago, the Soviet Union built its aircraft carrier pilot
training facilities at Nitka, outside Odessa, a city that is, since the
dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, in the independent country of Ukraine.
Ukraine is now trying to attract China and India as customers for these
facilities. China has signed up, and is buying aircraft carrier equipment made
in Ukraine. China is expanding its own carrier aviation training center, and is
buying consulting and technical services from Ukraine to assist in that
project. One interesting item to come out of the visits by Chinese naval
aviation personnel to Ukraine, is that the Varyag, a former Soviet carrier that
China bought from Russia six years ago, is being restored for use as a training
carrier. This explains the spotty restoration work that has been done on the
Varyag. However, the Chinese indicated that the Varyag could still be turned
into an operational combat carrier, either before or after it enters service as
a training ship.
base was used by the Soviets to train MiG-29K and Su-33 pilots for service on
their carriers. India is buying MiG-29Ks for their carriers, and China is
apparently building, with Ukrainian help, a carrier version of the Su-30 (which
is what the Su-33 was).