While the U.S. Navy is launching uncountable AEGIS destroyers every year, the Chinese Navy has recently added nine newly-constructed warships to its expanding fleet. Chinese Navy, more prominently known as the PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy), is advancing at an unprecedented rate. And on a tremendous scale. As a part of its modernization efforts, a series of large warships– including amphibious warships, and aircraft carriers–is being constructed.
Out of the nine warships, a line of four destroyers rests on the shipyard in the front. Two are Type-052D air-defense destroyers, which resembles the Arleigh Burke Class AEGIS destroyers by the U.S. Navy. These are capable of conveying up to 7,500 tons and can carry 64 large missiles consisting of cruise missiles and long-range surface to air missiles (SAMs). Two of the lot are enormous Type-055 Class ships, generally known as air-defense destroyers but are advancing in terms of size and fit of the cruisers. These ships are can carry more than 100 large missiles and thereby displace about twice the said number.
The shipyard that lies behind is the mass of construction halls and cranes and in the basin where the newly-constructed ships are docked after launch rests four other destroyers. This shipyard occupies both Type-052D and Type-055 ships. Along with the two ships previously mentioned lies a Type-055 ship which is still under construction and together the total number of destroyers stands at 9. To put it into comparison, the number of large destroyers the Royal Navy houses is just 6. And this shipyard is only a small part of a much bigger construction program.
Next to the PLAN’s fleet of destroyer warships rests some hovercraft–for displacing tanks and supplies from the ship to shore–that will be included along with the ships. These amphibious warships resemble the U.S. Navy’s Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC). In the dry dock next to this shipyard, is an enormous missile tracking ship and/or a Yuan Wang Class satellite. These ships look like the ocean liner but with a series of huge satellite dishes pointing towards the sky. Still under construction, these ships will be used to support missile tests once completed.
However, the most striking vessel is hidden from the limelight because of the background haze, which is hardly noticeable to the untrained eye. This multi-purpose construction area also houses the country’s next-gen aircraft carrier, known as the Type-003, underneath several massive gantry cranes. At present, China has two carriers in service but this next-gen carrier is probably going to be different in many ways. This carrier is expected to have electromagnetic hurls similar to the U.S. Navy’s latest Ford Class carrier. It would take some time for this carrier to be fully operational.
It is the same shipyard in which China’s unnamed full-size crewless submarine has been constructed. By means of commercial satellite imagery, this submarine is estimated to be 150 feet long and about 15 feet across. The Chinese Navy has not yet released any additional details regarding this sailless submarine.
China has already modernized its naval landscape and has changed beyond recognition from the Chinese Navy of its past. In short, the world’s naval balance is advancing.