New Delhi: The Chinese military has constructed mockups in the shape of a US Navy aircraft carrier and US warships, possibly for target practice, according to Maxar satellite images reviewed by the independent United States Naval Institute (USNI), CNN reported.
Satellite images from China’s northwest Xinjiang region appear to show a full-scale outline of a “Ford-class” aircraft carrier currently being constructed for the US Navy, and the shapes of at least two Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers at a new target range complex in the Taklamakan Desert, according to the USNI, a private, non-profit, professional military association, the report said.
The complex has repeatedly been used for ballistic missile testing, according to USNI and Maxar Technologies, a space technology company.
“This new range shows that China continues to focus on anti-carrier capabilities, with an emphasis on US Navy warships,” USNI reported.
Militaries around the world regularly build mock-ups of real-world targets such as iconic landmarks, warships, and aircraft carriers.
China’s anti-ship ballistic missile programs are overseen by the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF).
In a news briefing on Monday, Pentagon press secretary John F. Kirby said the US Defense Department was aware of media reports about the mockups but was instead focused on its own preparedness to support a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
“What we’re concerned about … is the increasing intimidation and coercive behavior of the Chinese military in the Indo-Pacific, and also the coercive tactics they’re using, even using economic tools around the world to bend other nations to their will or to their view of what’s in their best interest,” Kirby said, CNN reported.