Taken in the Yellow Sea on Dec. 8, 2011, this images from the DigitalGlobe Analysis Center depicts the Chinese aircraft carrier Varyag during it’s second sea trial in the Yellow Sea, approximately 100 kilometers south-southeast of the port of Dalian. Although testing activities with embarked planes began on Aug. 11, 2011, no plane appears on the flight deck of the Varyag.
Purchased in 1998, the Kutznesov Class 60,000 ton aircraft carrier should be used to test qualify Chinese pilots flying with the made-in-China Shenyang J-15 a multi-role Gen.4.5 plane (based on the Su-33 airframe with Chinese-developed technology) as well as to test equipments that could be used in China’s future operative aircraft carrier (expected no sooner than 2020).
For this reason satellites (and most probably spyplanes) will closely follow Varyag sea trials: to understand the type of threat the U.S. will face in the Pacific in next decades.
Image Credit : DigitalGlobe