China Aircraft Carrier

December 15, 2011 by staff 

China Aircraft Carrier, A US satellite company says it has taken a photograph of China’s first aircraft carrier during trials in the Yellow Sea. It is believed to be the first time the 300-metre ship, a refitted former Soviet carrier, has been photographed at sea since it was launched in August.

DigitalGlobe said one of its satellites took the picture on 8 December and ananlyst at the firm spotted the ship this week while searching through images.

Stephen Wood, director of DigitalGlobe’sanlysis centre, said he was confident the ship was the Chinese carrier because of the location and date of the image. The carrier has generated intense international interest because of what it might portend about China’s intentions as a military power.

The former Soviet Union started building the carrier, which it called the Varyag, but never finished it. When the USSR collapsed, the ship ended up in Ukraine.

China bought the ship from Ukraine in 1998 and spent years refurbishing it. It had no engines, weapons or navigation systems when China acquired it. It has said the ship is intended for research and training, which has led to speculation that it plans to build copies.

China initially said little about its plans for the vessel but has been more open in recent years, said Bonnie S Glaser, a China expert at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

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