China launches powerful destroyers, delivery expected in two years

China reportedly launched an additional Type 055 destroyer and a Type 052D destroyer right before the year draws to an end, a move Chinese experts called on Sunday an astounding achievement in shipbuilding, as they expect the ships to enter military service in two years.

Fully dressed, the two ships left a flooded dockyard and moored in nearby berths under the assistance of tug boats on Friday morning at the Dalian Shipyard, Northeast China’s Liaoning Province, as they wrapped up their successful launches, news website wenweipo.com reported on Friday.

The launched ships are China’s sixth Type 055 guided missile destroyer and the 23rd Type 052D guided missile destroyer, the report said.

“China’s rapid shipbuilding speed is a reflection of its industrial capability and its determination to build a strong navy,” a military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Sunday, calling the shipyard a powerhouse for China’s naval equipment.

After launch, a destroyer will usually take about a year to undergo outfitting procedures to install all kinds of additional equipment to get the ship ready to sail and make it combat-capable. Another year might be needed for it to conduct sea trials to see if everything works properly and make the necessary adjustments, according to the expert.

If everything goes well, the two destroyers launched on Friday could enter naval service in about two years, the expert said.

The Type 055 is China’s first 10,000 ton-class guided missile destroyer with a 112-cell vertical launch system, and the smaller Type 052D has 64 vertical launch cells. Both types are considered world-class and have outstanding detection, air defense and anti-ship capabilities.

This is the second time in 2019 the Dalian Shipyard has launched two destroyers on the same day, wenweipo.com reported.

The shipyard reportedly launched China’s 19th and 20th Type 052D destroyers on May 10. In July 2018, the third and fourth Type 055 destroyers were also launched there.

Shanghai-based Jiangnan Shipyard also builds these two types of destroyers. Shipyards around China also build other types of warships including frigates, amphibious landing docks and amphibious assault ships.

Following the same regular pattern of ship construction, these ships that have been launched in the past two years will likely join the Chinese Navy one by one in the coming one to three years, the expert said, noting that by 2021, the Navy will become significantly more powerful and capable of safeguarding China’s sovereignty and overseas interests thanks to the new ships.

More warships will be launched in 2020, experts predicted.

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