Separately, a photo of the meeting, held at CSIC’s China Ship and Vessel Research and Design Institute in the central city of Wuhan, has aroused interest. It showed a new, colossal flattop that dwarfs the two existing carriers. The photo was released but later deleted on June 20 by CSIC. A computer-generated rendering depicting a massive cavalcade of three carriers and other warships was revealed in the photo, and other than the Liaoning and its yet-to-be-christened sister ship currently finalizing its sea trials, a new, bigger carrier is sailing front and center in the picture. Analysts believe it could be China’s second home-made carrier, and the first to sport a distinctive “flattop” design. Previous rumors about the new seagoing airbase include a conventional power train and possibly three electromagnetic catapults on its flight deck. Beijing-based military commentator Song Zhongping told Global Times that the future carrier could have a displacement of 80,000 tons.

(Comment: CSIC had in February disclosed its plan to build China’s first nuclear-powered carrier, most likely at its Bohai Shipyard in Huludao in Liaoning province, where China’s first nuclear submarine was built.)

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