October 5, 2022

China restarts mass production of Type 052D destroyers, media say

A naval fleet consisting of the guided-missile destroyers Ningbo (Hull 139) and Taiyuan (Hull 131), as well as the guided-missile frigate Nantong (Hull 601), steams in rear formation in the waters of the East China Sea during a a training exercise at the end of January 2021. Photo: Chinese army

With five Type 052D destroyers reportedly spotted under construction at the Dalian shipyard, China has reportedly restarted mass production of the type of warship, with foreign media saying the rapid pace of Chinese shipbuilding is making the navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). “the world’s largest navy,” a claim Chinese analysts criticized on Tuesday as the rhetoric of the “China threat” theory.

An unverified image circulating on social media recently showed what appeared to be five Type 052D destroyers in various stages of completion at the Dalian shipyard in northeast China’s Liaoning province, the Paris-based media, Naval News.

In addition to these five ships, at least one more is being built at the Jiangnan Changxing shipyard in Shanghai, and they will soon join the 25 warships of the same class currently in service with the PLA Navy, said Naval News said, citing observers.

China has not officially announced its plan to build warships.

Since China basically aims to complete the modernization of its national defense and armed forces by 2035, including the development of a deep-sea navy, to match the country’s international status and better defend its interests, it is not It’s no surprise that China is actually building more advanced warships, especially in today’s turbulent global security environment, analysts said.

Ahead of the latest round of destroyer construction, China’s shipbuilding industry launched a record 10 destroyers in 2019 and another eight in 2021, Naval News reported, noting that with such a pace of construction, China’s navy the PLA “confirms its status as the largest in the world,” a rank achieved in 2021, according to a Pentagon report.

To say that the PLA Navy is the largest in the world is an exaggeration used to exaggerate the “Chinese threat” theory, because the Pentagon only counts the quantity of ships and not the quality – in this context, displacement ships, a Beijing-based military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Overall, the US Navy is by far the largest in the world with 11 nuclear-powered super aircraft carriers. Even speaking of numbers, the United States has some 70 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, far more than its Chinese Type 052D counterparts, the expert said.

The rapid development of the PLA Navy indeed reflects the capabilities of China’s shipbuilding industry, but China uses the ships to safeguard its sovereignty, territorial integrity and development interests, as well as to provide a public security service to the international community and contribute to peace and stability, unlike the United States, which uses warships to maintain its global hegemony, the expert said.