China’s Navy on 28 June 2017 launched its biggest new generation destroyer that weighs around 10,000 tonnes at the Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) in Shanghai. The launch is a part of the country’s massive expansion effort to become a global naval power.
The new destroyer, which is a domestically designed and produced vessel, is the first of China’s new generation of destroyers.
• The destroyer is equipped with new air defence, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons.
• The ship is believed to be the first Type 055 destroyer, which is considered to be a successor class to the country’s smaller Type 052D guided missile destroyers.
• The vessel will have to undergo planned testing including equipment operation, berthing and sailing before it is commissioned into use.
• The ship is an addition to two aircraft carriers that China is in the process of deploying to compete with other naval powers liked the US and India, especially in the Indian Ocean.
• The Chinese Navy is currently trying to form battle groups that accompany the aircraft carriers when they set out on missions far from shores.
• The first aircraft carrier ‘Liaoning’ departed from Qingdao in east China on 25 June with a fleet of Chinese naval ships for a ‘routine training mission’.
• The naval formation includes destroyers Jinan and Yinchuan, frigate Yantai and a squadron of J-15 fighter jets and helicopters.
The training mission, like the previous ones, is expected to strengthen coordination among the vessels and improve the skills of crew and pilots in a different marine region. This is the first exercise being carried out by Liaoning, a refurbished aircraft carrier that was built from the hull of a Soviet ship bought from Ukraine.
The new destroyer is expected to be operational by 2019.
China's naval build-up and it's increasingly assertive stance over disputed territory in the South China Sea can cause discomfort to its neighbours.
China claims almost all the South China Sea that is believed to have huge deposits of oil and gas but other countries such as Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to the sea.
It is through the sea that about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.
China has been building up military facilities like runways on the islands that are under its control.