New satellite images published by a US think tank may provide the world's first look at China's next aircraft carrier, as construction progresses on a mysterious large vessel in a shipyard outside Shanghai.
Significant new activity at the Jiangnan Shipyard was captured in satellite images from April, published by Washington-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
According to CSIS, they show a massive bow and main hull section of a large vessel under construction. At points, the hull section is as wide as 40 meters (131 feet).
Experts said while it was difficult to be sure, the size and scale of the new vessel strongly suggested China's much-anticipated new aircraft carrier, referred to as Type 002.
Rumors that the Chinese military was constructing a third, more modern aircraft carrier have been circling for more than a year. It was only in November that state media Xinhua first hinted at a new vessel.
Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post about CSIS using satellite intelligence to track various Asian island disputes.