New photos released by the satellite imaging company Maxar Technologies, a supplier of intelligence for the United States government, show that China has constructed life-size duplicates of multiple American warships in the Taklamakan desert.
The images were confirmed by geospatial intelligence company AllSource Analysis after reviewing the data from Maxar.
“The mockups of several probable U.S. warships, along with other warships, could simulate targets related to seeking/target acquisition testing. This, and the extensive detail of the mockups, including the placement of multiple sensors on and around the vessel targets, it is probable that this area is intended for multiple uses over time,” the company AllSource Analysis told USNI News Sunday.
The facility housing the ship models is part of a missile target range built in the Ruoqiang region of China in the spring of 2019. The site borders a former target range used to test DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles, according to a Business Insider report in January 2013.
For reasons unclear, the facility was abandoned in December 2019 by China but reactivated in September of this year.
The mockups located in the Ruoqiang complex include accurate renditions of the bridge, weapon systems, and flight decks of a U.S. carrier and two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers ships. The prototypes even effectively mimic the ship’s radar profiles according to satellite data.
In the same report, two other less sophisticated target areas in the shape of a U.S. aircraft carrier were detected, showing the continued expansion of operations at the facility.
According to the Pentagon’s latest report on China’s military capabilities, they state the country has “conducted its first-ever confirmed live-fire launch into the South China Sea, firing six DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles into the waters north of the Spratly Islands.”
The report continues, mentioning that “In 2020, the PRC (People’s Republic of China) fired anti-ship ballistic missiles against a moving target in the South China Sea, but has not acknowledged doing so.”