U.S. satellite firm says it has first image of Chinese aircraft carrier
Digital Globe released this satellite image Wednesday, showing what it says is the first look at the Chinese aircraft carrier Varyag.
December 15th, 2011
10:49 AM ET

U.S. satellite firm says it has first image of Chinese aircraft carrier

A photograph of what is purported to be China’s first aircraft carrier has renewed speculation about its military intentions, according to news reports.

U.S. satellite imaging firm Digital Globe said Wednesday on its website that it had captured an image that appears to be the Chinese aircraft carrier Varyag during drills in the Yellow Sea.

The Varyag was reportedly constructed by the USSR in the 1980s but fell into the hands of the Ukraine. The Chinese purchased it sans weapons and navigation systems under the guise of wanting to turn the vessel into a casino, according to a BBC report in August.

Huntsman: China is 'no ally' of the U.S.

The sea trial is the second for the aircraft carrier, which roused international interest on November 29 when it left the port of Dalian in the Yellow Sea. Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said at the time that the military exercises were a "routine arrangement," Xinhua reported.

The sea drills are seen as a running display of military might for the Asian nation and come amid several recent high-profile provocations at sea.

Earlier this week the Yellow Sea was the site of a confrontation that resulted in a South Korean coast guard commando being stabbed to death and another injured after they boarded a Chinese fishing vessel they suspected of fishing illegally, CNN reported.

Recent military exercises there have raised awareness of Chinese aspirations in the face of the American naval presence in the region, experts say.

"By itself, the ship does not erode the credibility of America's military presence in the region nor greatly increase China's power projection capabilities. Nevertheless, the vessel is a potent symbol of China's aspirations to become a global maritime power and is yet another indication that the military balance of power is gradually shifting in China's favor," Dr. Ian Storey, of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, told the Guardian newspaper.

Last month the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review, presented annually to Congress, gave fresh warnings that China was conducting sea trials of its first aircraft carrier and developing anti-ship ballistic missiles.

Post by:
Filed under: China • Politics • World
soundoff (510 Responses)
  1. Todd Gack

    that's it....no more chicken and broccoli for me!

    December 21, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chiang Kai Shek

      You can take my Gai Kow away when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

      January 3, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. sosofresh

    Uh oh... they have one Soviet-era carrier.

    Tis the season to be jorry fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra. Deck the hors with bors of horry....

    December 22, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Derek

      Aren't you so clever with your 50-year old racist stereotypes. *yawn*

      January 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. mark

    looks like the nemitz class . same paint lines .i think the regean ought to square off and ram each other and see who floats

    December 22, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      Can't be Nimitz-class. There are only 2 cats and both launch of the bow. Nimitz-class have 2 bow cats and 2 waist cats. Other paint markings are vastly different.

      However, the story did say that the carrier was built by the USSR in the 80s. They probably built it as "independently" as they built their space shuttle that happens to look remarkably like the shuttles NASA just retired.

      December 23, 2011 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Will

      Uhhhh... it looks nothing like a Nimitz Class. It's a Soviet Kuznetzov class.
      35 year old Soviet design + cheap unreliable second-hand Chinese technology = I don't think the west has much to worry about.

      January 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tyokol

    Insolent Chinese!

    December 24, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jman

      China is bad and they continue to manipulate the US.

      On another note, I hate going to the store and seeing "Made in China". Where is the "Made in USA". Oh wait .. Americas leaders sold their soul for greed.

      KenE, you are a traitor.

      December 28, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. KenE

    Okay, where does it say other soverign countries cannot have their own aircraft carriers? Did I miss something, or just forgot to absorb the media hype that says, We(America) are good and everyone else is bad.

    December 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • theVizion

      Jman seems to be quite ignorant and not understand the definition of "traitor". He and many Americans (as well as me) are supporting China by purchasing from companies like Wal-Mart that give the best deals to US consumers by importing products from that country. China is not manipulating us, we are doing that to ourselves. We have become addicted to the "deal". I would love to see small town American shops on Main St USA open their doors again. It is too late to reform?

      December 29, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Darketernal

    That's what you get for feeding the communistic beast by buying its products, remember folks, we made this possible.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Johnny 5

    The new NO.1 country now appears to lead space exploration also. We in the US have to take the bench for all that used to make us great. Pathetic...

    December 30, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. Me

    Carriers are just big targets at sea

    December 30, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • humanbean

      Especially carriers with no aircraft

      December 30, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. seppe

    Maybe is a trojan horse....

    December 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. musiqbiz

    Well hate to say I told u so, to the people that couldn't see this coming... and all courtesy of the US and Europe outsourcing the majority of it's manufacturing to China... maybe this will make you think twice next time you go shopping and u see the labels "made in China" ... I know we're all trying to save a few pennies where we can right now, but isn't it worth spending a couple of extra pennies on items made here, to contribute towards our safety and the growth of our own economy, instead of building up China's who obviously have other intentions... lets not end up at their mercy people! Otherwise we'll all end up waking up to a dictator...

    January 1, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  11. loveit

    Please tell me they're not planning another Pearl Harbor!?!

    January 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek

      Um, wrong country?

      January 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      You must be from Texas.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Martin

    What's the big deal, the US has had carriers for 60 something years now and we didn't buy them used and took nearly ten years to make them sea worthy. Just Google what countries have carriers currently, China is last after third world countries like Argentina and Brazil. I read this somewhere too "he U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined"

    January 4, 2012 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. Desert1

    One rocket no more carrier !

    January 5, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Deniz

      your school slonceour had not believed you and had called your abusers. Oh my! I am sure it was probably in your book as well but it just hit me! Talk about sending the victim back into the mire! I can't imagine and yet I know it happens. I hope we do it better today! Joanne

      April 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jim Locke

    They want to run with the big dogs? Fine. A carrier is for more than "flexing muscles". Next time there's an 8 point 5 earthquake in an underdeveloped nation, I nominate the Chinese to send in their carrier for humanitarian aid. Let THEM hospitalize the injured, airlift out the stranded, and drop in tons of food, men, and vehicles. It might be nice letting someone else shoulder the weight for a change.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. David B

    They bought the hulk of the Minsk. It was obsolete when the Soviets built it. More importantly, it is only what we would call a light carrier. It takes a fraction of the crew and planes our carriers take. This ship is not built to hold more than 50 aircraft, if that many. It's nice and prestigious because it is a Bird Farm, but it's obsolete and would not fare well in combat.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18