U.S. Satellite Photographs Chinese Aircraft Carrier for First Time


A Chinese aircraft carrier was photographed by a U.S. satellite for the first time at sea on December 8, the Guardian reports:

Stephen Wood, director of DigitalGlobe's analysis centre, said he was confident the ship was the Chinese carrier because of the location and date of the image. The carrier has generated intense international interest because of what it might portend about China's intentions as a military power.

The former Soviet Union started building the carrier, which it called the Varyag, but never finished it. When the USSR collapsed, the ship ended up in the hands of Ukraine, a former Soviet republic.

China bought the ship from Ukraine in 1998 and spent years refurbishing it. It had no engines, weaponry or navigation systems when China acquired it. It has said the ship is intended for research and training, which has led to speculation that it plans to build copies.

Meanwhile, the U.S. officially ended its mission in Iraq:

In a fortified concrete courtyard at the airport in Baghdad, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta thanked the more than one million American service members who have served in Iraq for “the remarkable progress” made over the past nine years but acknowledged the severe challenges that face the struggling democracy.

And Iran claims it can control the downed U.S. drone.


  1. gregory brown says

    Yes, they ARE coming. Aircraft carriers plus a new missile system capable of destroying our carriers. With half the US population at poverty level, the advance of theocratic Dominionist Xtians in politics, the mind-numbing promotion of “reality TV”–we are at the twilight of America, going fast toward the sunset.

  2. Joey says

    Don’t forget that Obama, who promised to veto the defense bill if the “the military can just decide that you are ‘suspected’ of being a terrorist sympathizer and then jail you indefinitely or just kill you” clause was in it, is now going to sign it(shades of the public option or ending the Bush tax gift) In ten years it won’t matter if you are Chinese or American. Being poor and terrified of your own government is becoming the new normal.

  3. Sean in Dallas says

    I hate to be such a pessimist, but I agree it’s not a good sign.

    We’re a weakened country with backwater religious zealots have ridiculous political influence. That’s an unstable, dangerous mix.

  4. Tom in long beach says

    I have to admit this is scary. I have always felt it was a bad idea to send billions into a country that has little civil rights and is hostile to our way of life. But we all have chosen to ignore this so the rich could make more money and the middle class could get cheaper stuff.

  5. Bob R says

    The Chinese don’t have to worry about defeating America militarily, all they have to do is call in their loans and foreclose on the mortgages and America will fall faster than a house of cards in a windstorm. Why would they want to fight us when they already own us?

  6. uffda says

    Yes, this makes me a little queasy as the Chinese government has no moral compass at all as witnessed, (see Tibet, Tiannemen Square etc), by the many thousands of their own people they execute each year. Of course Taiwan will be the first to experience implosion by explosion, then we’ll see what happens. My sense, however, is that the Chinese are extremely sensitive to what other people think of them as a culture and this has the possibility of restraining them. Tom Clancy needs to take this development up in a new novel.

    Tom in Longbeach@ makes me mindful of the new reciprocating saw I just bought at Harbor Freight.

  7. J.J. says

    You guys are waaay to scared of this thing. This whole “China Panic” thing is overblown. Besides, this is just ONE carrier…China didn’t even technically build it. Do you know how many bigger, better, aircraft carriers we have in just one port?

    Not to toot the fact that I’m in the Navy, but for decades the infrastructure of the US Navy is designed for things like this. China doesn’t stand a chance and it knows it.

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