China Capable of ‘Mass Producing’ Guided Missile Destroyers, Analyst Says

Beijing could deploy as many as 30 Type 052D destroyers in the future, a Chinese analyst says

(UPI) — China could be adding more guided missile destroyers to its fleet following the launch of two Type 052D guided missile destroyers on Friday.

The Yinchuan, one of China’s Type 052D destroyers. Two of these new warships were launched at the Dalian shipyard in northeast China last Friday.

Chinese analysts told state tabloid Global Times on Sunday Beijing wants to add more destroyers at a time when friction between China and the United States is rising over trade and maritime security.

Wei Dongxu, a military analyst, said more than 30 destroyers could be added to China’s fleet.

“The platform [of the Type 052D] is pretty reliable and it uses very mature technologies. These make it suitable for mass production,” Wei said.

China launched the two Type 052Ds on Friday in Dalian, less than a year after it launched two Type 055 destroyers in July 2018.

The launch of two 055s in July last year also prompted speculation that Beijing wanted to expand and upgrade its navy to compete with the United States, which currently has 66 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers

The Type 055 is a more advanced destroyer with a displacement of more than 10,000 tons, and 112 vertical launch missile cells, a system for holding and firing missiles.

A social media account operated by Beijing Youth Daily stated China is planning a “first batch” of eight Type 055s. They are more expensive than the Type 052D.

China’s plan to build more destroyers could be part of a larger naval building and modernization program.

According to U.S. analysts on Sunday, China is also building nuclear attack submarines, amphibious vessels and an improved logistics force.

In February, Chinese military analysts said China could build four nuclear aircraft carriers to bolster its presence in the South China Sea.

China currently has only one aircraft carrier in deployment — the Liaoning, commissioned in 2012. The Type 001A, Beijing’s first self-developed carrier, is undergoing the final stages of testing.