I have not made much updates recently due to travel and busy work schedule, but I did see this picture today which was really interesting. Edited: It turns out the original photo I posted was a CG, so only the one below is real. This one shows 4 10x J-15s on board. We also have photo of 5 J-15s flying together.
There are various conflicting reports on this particular training exercise, but it seems like CV-16 and escort fleet left early April for the first training exercise of the year and may have spent time in South China Sea before coming back. The J-15s on board CV-16 are from the first production batch numbered 10x. We’ve seen up to No. 109 in J-15s, so they do have up to 10 production J-15s available to be deployed. The most important part to note here is that they have moved past flight testing with the same 2 or 3 J-15 prototypes.
Again, it took two and half year for PLAN to get to this point with CV-16, so this is still a very deliberate project for them. Based on recent interviews, it looks like they are trying to move forward at a measured pace to avoid any major accidents. As more J-15s are produced, it is interesting to see CV-16 with increasingly crowded flight deck.