Outfitting work is being conducted on China’s new 052D guided-missile destroyers in Dalian Shipyard, Northeast China’s Liaoning Province.
The 052D destroyer, which is equipped with phased array radar and vertical launching system, is China’s most advanced guided-missile destroyer. There are five 052D destroyers already in active service while another six are undergoing outfitting and several are under construction, read a Sina Weibo Post by the China National Radio (CNR) Military Program on Sunday.
“The 052D, a 7,000-ton-destroyer with 64 launch units, is designed for tasks including anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and anti-warship defense, while it does not and should not be required to have ground attack capability, which should be carried out by bigger destroyers, the coming 055,” Song Zhongping, a military expert who used to serve in the PLA Rocket Force, told the Global Times on Monday.
Equipped with 112 launch units, the 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 noted, adding that Chinese destroyers have seen a rapid development, but they still lack real combat experience.
China should not compare its destroyer development with that of Japan, as the latter does not have the ability to produce its Aegis class destroyers independently and they are purchased from the U.S., but China has domestic production capability.
While admitting that there is a gap in terms of basic industrial strength between China and the US, Song noted that the US destroyers are not perfect as many U.S. destroyers including the two sold to Japan are not equipped with active electronically scanned array (AESA).
Chinese destroyers are equipped with AESA, and the 052D and 055 destroyers are starting to include a variety of missiles serving different combat purposes in their vertical launching system, surpassing the U.S. system, Song said.