Amid rising tensions with India, Chinese PLA Navy has launched its eighth Type 055 and 25th Type 052D destroyers, only two days after the decommissioning of two Type 051 destroyers, which marked the retirement of China’s all first generation of indigenous destroyers.
Experts quoted by the Global Times said that the PLA Navy’s development has entered a new stage, with third-generation warships becoming the main battle equipment and fourth-generation ones beginning to enter service.
According to Chinese news outlets, Type 055 has a displacement of more than 12,000 tons. It has 112 vertical launch missile cells capable of firing a combination of surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine missiles, and land-attack missiles, making it one of the most powerful destroyers in the world.
The decommissioning of for the two old warships the Zhanjiang and the Zhuhai confirms that all of China’s first-generation indigenous destroyers have been discharged from active service, CCTV reported. The two warships served for over five decades as the PLA Navy’s main surface combat ships.
“With the older generation warships decommissioned, China’s main battle destroyers now consist of mainly third-generation vessels, including the Type 052Cs and the Type 052Ds, alongside the fourth-generation Type 055.
The Chinese ships’ displacement, technology, and combat capability are on the rise as they have gained comprehensive combat capability in air defence, anti-ship and anti-submarine operations”, GT quoted Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute.
A Congressional Research Service (CRS) report for the US Congress, updated in August 2020, said that China could have around 40 destroyers with phased array radars in service by 2025. GT reported, “in four to five years, the number would increase to 39 to 40, including six Type 052Cs (predecessor to the Type 052D), 25 to 26 Type 052Ds and eight Type 055s”.