China building more Type 055 large destroyers: reports
Published: May 29, 2024 10:14 PM
The guided-missile destroyer Dalian (Hull 105) attached to the PLA Southern Theater Command sails during a far-sea joint training drill in early April, 2023. Photo:

The guided-missile destroyer Dalian (Hull 105) attached to the PLA Southern Theater Command sails during a far-sea joint training drill in early April, 2023. Photo:

China is reportedly building more Type 055 large destroyers, reflecting the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's strides toward the blue water and efforts in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests as well as peace and stability in the world, experts said on Wednesday.

Citing new commercial satellite imagery of the Dalian Shipyard in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, overseas media including online news portal Naval News reported on Tuesday that China has recently launched its 10th Type 055 large destroyer and is ramping up ship production.

It marks the launch of the second recently launched Type 055, with the Shanghai-based Jiangnan Shipyard having launched the previous ship in late 2023, Paris-based media outlet Naval News reported.

From January 2020 to April 2023, the PLA Navy had commissioned eight Type 055 large destroyers from the first batch of production, according to official releases. 

The Type 055 is considered the world's best destroyer in terms of comprehensive capabilities, as it can accompany aircraft carriers or play the role of a command ship, Shi Hong, executive chief editor of Shipborne Weapons magazine, told the Global Times.

Adding more Type 055s can give the PLA more tactical flexibility, Shi said.

The Dalian Shipyard has commenced construction on a further hull for a Type 055 in the second batch, and laid down another Type 052D destroyer, Naval News said, citing Google Earth imagery updated in late April.

Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai also appears to be working on a second hull for the second batch's Type 055, as well as additional Type 052Ds, Naval News said.

Other Chinese shipyards such as Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai and Huangpu-Wenchong Shipyard in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, are continuing to construct Type 054A and Type 054B frigates and related adoptions for the China Coast Guard, the report said, noting that these "illustrate the continuous and steady output of new combatants for [the PLA Navy] across all four major naval builders."

China's national defense development demands the PLA Navy to be capable of near seas defense and far seas protection amid its aim to build a blue water navy, so it is completely normal that China builds more advanced far seas-capable naval vessels while retiring old and smaller ones, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Faced with deteriorating regional and global security situations, China needs a powerful navy to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, the expert said.

The West should see China's naval development and its shipbuilding achievements rationally and not hype the "China threat theory," as China's national defense policy is defensive in nature, analysts said.

The PLA Navy is a provider of international security goods, including its regular escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia as well as humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions when needed, observers said.