Wendell Minnick
Wendell Minnick

China builds up its military power and will set another record, now for phased-array radar-equipped destroyers. By 2018 it will outnumbers its largest competitor in the region, Japan, writes defense analyst Wendell Minnick in Defense News.

Wendell Minnick:

On Dec. 22, China commissioned its fifth 052C destroyer, the Jinan, leaving one last ship of that type to be finished.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN’s) procurement of Luyang-class Type 052C/Ds and Type 055 guided-missile cruisers with phased-array radars will provide long range anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) support to four planned carrier strike groups. They will also provide coverage for high value units such as 20,000-ton Type 081 amphibious assault ships, said Tony Beitinger, vice president of market intelligence forAMI International.

“AMI anticipates that the PLAN will build: six Type 052Cs, eight 052Ds and six Type 055 cruisers. The 052Cs are already in the PLAN inventory while the 052Ds are under construction and will enter service by 2018. The new cruiser design should start construction by 2016 and conclude in 2024.”

Toshi Yoshihara, author of the book, “Red Star Over the Pacific,” said, excluding the US Navy, this buildup will “tilt the naval balance of power in maritime Asia.” The only two other Asian navies with warships of equivalent capability are Japan’s, with six phased-array radar-equipped destroyers, with plans to build two more, and the South Korean Navy, with three similar destroyers.

More in Defense News.

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