China's military has constructed mock-ups of U.S. warships in a remote desert missile testing range as training targets amid the threat of conflict in the South China Sea or the Taiwan Strait.
U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) said satellite images by Maxar Technologies Inc., a U.S. firm with more than 80 satellites in low Earth orbit, show mock-ups of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers at the test facility in the Ruoqiang area of Xinjiang's Taklamakan desert.
"This new range shows that China continues to focus on anti-carrier capabilities, with an emphasis on U.S. Navy warships," USNI said.
One of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers can be seen below.
The facility also has a mock-up of a U.S. aircraft carrier mounted on rails to simulate a moving vessel.
For reference, here's the mock-up of the carrier versus the real thing—very similar dimensions.
The signs are clear that China is focusing on its anti-ship missile program, managed by the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF).
Here's an overview of the entire range.
This range is not far from another missile range that was used to test the so-called carrier killer DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles.
There are questions on the types of weapons tested or will be tested at the new facility, including hypersonic weapons.
Even though China-U.S. ties have improved in recent months, both global powers are locked in a great power competition. The Pentagon has raised concern over China's rapidly expanding nuclear and hypersonic weapons programs.