Naval Air: October 23, 2002


Last year we reported that the former USSR carrier Varyag ended up in a Guangzhou shipyard under tight security, rather than in a commercial yard where the Chinese said they were going to turn it into a tourist attraction. China is also reported to be building two carriers, but the data out of China on this is confusing. Recent pictures from China show the Varyag with a lot of original equipment removed and new radar and electronic warfare antennas atop the island. A shipyard worker was heard saying the ship is under conversion "for military purposes." There is some speculation the Chinese are turning the Varyag into a transport (to carry vehicles for an invasion of Taiwan?) The Chinese do have modules that can be put aboard any flat deck and turn that ship into a helicopter maintenance ship. The Chinese could turn the carrier into Varyag into a helicopter carrier. But to convert it to a full blown aircraft carrier, it would take the Chinese a long time to train a crew to operate it effectively. 


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