Satellite images show the construction on the third and largest aircraft carrier in China: report

HONG KONG/BEIJING: Construction Of China ' The First Full-sized Aircraft Carrier Is Well On Its Way, According To Satellite Images Obtained And Analyzed By An American Think Tank.

The April Images, Which The Reuters Center For Strategic And International Studies (CSIS) Has Provided To Reuters, Reveal A Significant Recent Activity During The Past Six Months On A Large Ship At The Jiangnan Shipyard Outside Of Shanghai.

China Has Not Formally Confirmed That It Is Building A Third Airline, Despite Recent Directions In State Media, And The Timing And Extent Of The Carrier Program Remain State Secrets.

The Pentagon Said Last Week That The Work Had Begun, But So Far There Have Been No Images.

Both Asian And Western Military And Regional Security Analysts Are Looking For Information About The Courier Service, Which Is Expected To Be The First Large Modern Platform In China Capable Of Running A Full Range Of Strike Group Operations.

The Effort To Build A Large, Locally-designed Courier Is Seen As A Core Component Of China's Extensive Military Drive To Modernize. A Series Of Recent Reuters Special Reports Demonstrated How That Effort Challenges Decades Of American Strategic Superiority In East Asia.

The CSIS Images Show A Bow Section That Seems To End With A Flat 30-meter (98-foot) Front And A Separate Hull Section 41 Meters Wide With Gantry Cranes On Top Of The Ground.

Suggesting A Ship That Named China Type 002, Slightly Smaller Than 100,000-ton American Carriers But Larger Than France ' S 42,500 Tons Charles De Gaulle, Say Analysts.

Factory Halls The Size Of Various Soccer Fields Are Built In The Neighborhood And It Looks Like Work Is Continued On A Floodable Basin, Possible To Float The Finished Hull In The Nearby Yangtze River Mouth.

Although Details About Type 002 Are Limited, What Is Perceptible In Jiangnan Is Consistent With What Is Expected For People's # X27; S Liberation Army Navy ' S Third Aircraft Carrier, Said The CSIS ' ChinaPower Analysis, Submitted Later On Tuesday On His Website.

CSIS Analyst Matthew Funaiole Told Reuters That The Images Taken At The End Of Last Year Were Not Decisive, But That The Ongoing Work Is Now Clear.

Of What We Can See There Has Been Much Activity In The Last Six Months, He Said. It Looks Like This Is The Third Carrier And If That Is Not The Case, It Is Hard To Imagine What It Would Be For Another Large Ship.

In The Pentagon ' S Annual Report About China ' S Military Modernization, Issued Last Friday, It Was Noted That The Third Courier Would Probably Be Bigger Than The First Two And Equipped With A Slingshot Launch System To Speed Aircraft During Takeoff.

With This Design It Can Support Extra Fighter Aircraft, Fixed-wing Early Warning Aircraft And Faster Flight Movements, The Report Said.

Funaiole And Other Analysts Said It Was Unclear What Type Of Slingshot - Traditionally Steam-powered Or A More Ultramodern Electromagnetic System - Would Be Used.

It Also Remains Unclear Whether The Type 002 Works On Nuclear Energy. China Has 10 Nuclear Powered Submarines, But So Far No Surface Ships With Nuclear Propulsion; Some Analysts Think That China Is Not Ready To Take That Step.

Singapore-based Regional Security Analyst Ian Storey Said A Full-sized Courier Part Of The Neighbors Of China ' Would Make Nervous And Emphasize The Importance Of Their Strategic Relationship With The United States.

Once Completed, It Surpasses Every Warship From An Asian Country, Including India And Japan, Said Storey, From The ISUS Yusof Ishak Institute. It Is Yet Another Indication That China Has Emerged As The Most Important Naval Force Of Asia '

China ' The First Two Airlines Are Relatively Small, With Only A Maximum Of 25 Aircraft, Less Than Half The Number On Board Of American Airlines, And Have Spring Disasters Built Into Their Bow. This Configuration Not Only Limits The Types Of Aircraft That Can Fly With It, But Also How Much Weaponry And Fuel They Can Transport.

The First Courier, The Liaoning, Was A Soviet-era Ukrainian Ship That Was Bought Second-hand In 1998 And Re-assembled In China. A Not-yet-appointed Second Courier Based On That Design, Launched In 2017, Was Built Locally.

The Liaoning Was Seen As More A Training Platform For Teaching Personnel, The Tricky Art Of Carrier Operations. But Last Month, Chinese State Media Said The Ship Is Starting To Play A Fighting Role After Recent Adjustments And Intensive Training Exercises.

The Second Society Is Currently Undergoing Sea Demonstrations From Its Base In The North Of Dalian And Is Not Expected To Be Taken Into Service Until 2020.

China State Media ' Experts Have Quoted As Saying That China Needs At Least Six Carriers. The United States Has Eleven Airlines.

China ' The Ministry Of Defense Did Not Respond To A Request For Comment.

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