In what Reuters has dubbed a massive “show of force”, dozens of Chinese warships have been observed on satellite imagery, exercising with an aircraft carrier and warplanes above the heavily-disputed South China Sea, as part of the previously noted massive military drills, which the PLA ominously said were “in preparation for war.”
The four images, provided by Planet Labs for Reuters confirms the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning joined the annual naval war drill earlier this week.
— Planet (@planetlabs) 27 March 2018
According to the Taiwan Defense & National Security ministry, late last week Taiwan sent two ships and military aircraft to shadow the Chinese aircraft carrier group through the narrow Taiwan Strait.
The images, taken on Monday by Planet Labs flock of miniature satellites, show at least forty naval vessels, submarines, and aircraft in what some military strategist “described as an unusually large display of the Chinese military’s growing naval might,” said Reuters.
Up to forty naval vessels can be seen in a line formation, while submarines flank the aircraft carrier called Liaoning labeled below.
Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), told Reuters: “It is an incredible picture. That is the big news to me. Confirmation that, yes, the carrier participated in the exercise.”
Liaoning, a Type 001 aircraft carrier, is the first aircraft carrier commissioned into the People’s Liberation Army Navy Surface Force, a branch of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.