BEIJING, ($1=6.39 Chinese Yuans) – According to photos provided by Maxar to the US organization U.S. Naval Institute, the Chinese military has built targets in the form of aircraft carriers and other US warships in the Taklamakan Desert – as part of a new test complex.
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The full-scale plan of the American aircraft carrier and at least two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers is part of a test site built in the Ruoqiang region of central China, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
According to the information resource of the American analytical organization U.S. Naval Institute, this place is located near the former test site, which China used to test early versions of anti-ship ballistic missiles DF-21D.
New images show that China continues to focus on fighting the US Navy aircraft carriers.
As Maxar’s images show, the target looks like a flat surface of an aircraft carrier without an island, aircraft lifts, weapons, and other details.
But this is not the only place where China is building targets that mimic the top view of American warships. And other goals are made in more detail. Numerous vertical columns are installed on them. Probably, they can be used for radar reflectors to simulate the superstructure of the ship.
The Taklamakan Desert area has traditionally been used to test ballistic missiles, according to Maxar images obtained by geospatial exploration company AllSource Analysis. This company has identified the location of the target rotation.
“The mock-ups of several probable US warships, along with others [fixed on rails and mobile], can mimic targets related to testing the search/targeting procedure,” the AllSource Analysis concluded.
It also says that there are no signs of zones of influence of weapons near the models. “This, as well as the large details of the layouts, including the placement of several sensors on and around the ship’s targets, are likely to confirm that this area is intended for multiple uses.”
China has several anti-ship ballistic missile programs for the People’s Liberation Army Missile Forces. The CSS-5 Mod 5 ground-based missile (DF-21D) has a range of more than 800 nautical miles. The more powerful CSS-18 (DF-26) missile has a range of about 2,000 nautical miles.
“In July 2019, the PRC made its first confirmed launch in the South China Sea, launching six DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles into the sea north of the Spratly Islands,” the Pentagon said in its latest annual report.
The Chinese are also testing the DF-26 long-range anti-ship ballistic missile, which has been under development since 2016. In 2020, China launched these anti-ship ballistic missiles on a moving target in the South China Sea.
This is not the first time China has built an aircraft carrier in the desert. Since 2003, a large concrete platform has been used as a target. It is part of the Shuangchengzi missile range and has been used many times for missile strikes. Therefore, it is often repaired.
The new site in the Taklamakan Desert is 600 miles away and much more developed. The new ship targets are the best replicas of American aircraft carriers and destroyers.
While questions remain about the weapons to be tested at the new facility, the level of sophistication that can now be seen on the ground indicates that the PLA continues to invest in deterrence to limit the effectiveness of U.S. naval forces near China. This is stated in the publication of the American analytical organization U.S. Naval Institute.
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