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Key policy implications: China’s growing proficiency in building massive ore carriers and oil tankers suggests that Chinese yards can physically fabricate ship hulls of up to supercarrier size. However, the ability to fashion a carrier’s hull has little bearing on the ability to build the ship’s internals and turn it into a floating airbase with planes, fuel, munitions, catapults, and at least several hundred personnel aboard. Building the internal components of the ship and then learning to operate this immensely complex vessel as part of a battle group will likely require many years of trial and error unrelated to China’s growing shipyard capacity. The recent flurry of press reports describing the Chinese government’s apparent decision in 2009 to proceed with aircraft carrier development makes it worth examining closely the technical…