An Admiral Kuznetsov-class warship, the vessel was to be 1,000 feet long, with a displacement of 65,000 tons. For a carrier of that vintage, the Varyag would be a middleweight, envisioned as the platform for several dozen short-takeoff, vertical-landing fighter jets, as well as 8 or 10 helicopters.

It is thought that China plans to build three aircraft carrier battle groups, each armed with 40 fighters, up to eight warships, three nuclear-powered attack submarines and a number of support vessels. The PLA Navy's retrofitted Varyag carrier, currently under sea-trials, will serve as a training platform.

The three trial runs of China's first aircraft carrier, the refitted Varyag, in 2011 marked a milestone in Chinese navy's development. But they also drew sharp reactions from some countries intent on raising false alarms.

As part of its 11th five-year military plan beginning in 2006, China has: commissioned dozens of new frigates, destroyers, submarines and amphibious ships; begun sea trials of the country's first aircraft carrier, the former Soviet Varyag; deployed ships overseas for the first time in modern Chinese history; and developed a "carrier-killer" system that combines ocean-surveillance satellites, drones and maneuverable Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles.

A commercial satellite company just released this photo of the Varyag, the thousand-foot-long, 55,000 ton beast of a boat that the Chinese military is cruising around the Yellow Sea in a second round of sea tests this month. The world is on edge about China's apparent initiative to jack up their military might, and indeed, it looks scary from above. But not as scary as it does from the ground.