China’s navy launched Wednesday its most advanced destroyer, the domestically built 10,000-ton Type 055. Officials told state-run Xinhua news agency that the first ship of its kind entered the water at Shanghai’s Jiangnan Shipyard on Wednesday morning.
The news agency said the ship is equipped with the latest air, missile, ship and submarine defense systems. China is believed to be planning a total of four such ships, the Associated Press reported.
The Type 055 is significantly larger than China’s other modern destroyer, the Type 052. The development has come at a time of rising competition with regional rivals like India and Japan. China’s increasing show of force at sea has also rankled the United States.
“Type 055 destroyer will greatly enhance PLA Navy’s combat capability in the open sea, and ground attack capability, as its higher tonnage will enable it to be more versatile”, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert, told the state-run Global Times newspaper Wednesday. The vessel will have to undergo planned testing before it is commissioned into use , reports said.
China was once heavily dependent on foreign military technology. The first Chinese aircraft carrier, Liaoning, was commissioned in 2012, and was bought from Ukraine for $25 million. In April this year, it launched its first indigenously built aircraft carrier, Type 001A. China began the construction of the carrier in 2013 and it is expected to become operational by 2020, reports said, adding more carriers will be produced in the next 5 years. Chinese companies have also developed radio-radar equipment for the ships, as well as certain types of weapons and special equipment for planes.
China is producing warships at a rapid pace as it plans to modernize its navy, which has been taking an increasingly prominent role among the country’s armed forces. State media claims that the navy commissioned 18 ships in 2016, including destroyers, corvettes and…