New satellite images reportedly show that communist China’s military has constructed models of U.S. aircraft carriers in a Chinese desert that are built to represent enemy forces in China’s military exercises.
“The site consists of a single aircraft carrier target, miles from the nearest town in the Xinjiang region, according to photos provided to USNI News by satellite imagery company Maxar,” the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) reported. “The carrier target is about 300 miles away from a larger suspected missile range in the Taklamakan Desert, first reported by USNI News on Sunday. The two sites share similar characteristics and are aligned on a map with the carriers facing the same direction – as if in a convoy. Like the first, this new target shares the same dimensions as a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.”
The USNI added, “Unlike the first, however, this target is not full-scale. It is about half the size of a U.S. Nimitz-class carrier at 173 meters, or 568 feet, in length.”
According to the USNI, it is “clear” that these models are “meant to represent the enemy forces in Chinese exercises.”
“In the Chinese military, the opposing forces are labeled ‘blue,’ while their own are red forces – the opposite of the U.S. and NATO,” the USNI explained. “Placing the targets in the interior allows the entire missile flight to take place over their own territory and gives China greater control of the airspace around the site. Keeping the tests away from the sea ensures that any debris cannot be recovered by other navies in the way it could from the ocean floor. Both factors will make it difficult to gather intelligence on the weapons tests.”
When asked about the news on Monday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that the United States is concerned about China’s aggression.
“I think makes it very clear what our understanding of their intentions are, and their capabilities are. And how they’re developing those capabilities and to what ends,” Kirby said. “And clearly, they have invested a lot and particularly air and maritime capabilities that are designed largely to try to prevent the United States from having access to certain areas in the Indo-Pacific.”
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