China’s increasingly powerful navy launched its most advanced domestically produced destroyer on Wednesday, at a time of rising competition with other naval powers such as the United States, Japan and India.
The first 10,000-ton Type 055 entered the water at Shanghai’s Jiangnan Shipyard on Wednesday morning, the navy said in a statement.
It said the ship is equipped with the latest air, missile, ship and submarine defense systems. China is believed to be planning to produce four of the ships.
The Type 055 is significantly larger than China’s other modern destroyer, the Type 052, representing the rising sophistication of China’s defense industries. Once heavily dependent on foreign technology, China in April launched its first aircraft carrier built entirely on its own, based on an earlier Ukrainian model.
In terms of displacement, it is roughly equivalent to the Arleigh Burke class of destroyer.
China’s navy is undergoing an ambitious expansion and is projected to have a total of 265-273 warships, submarines and logistics vessels by 2020, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Naval Analysis. That compares with 275 deployable battle force ships presently in the U.S. Navy, China’s primary rival in the Asia Pacific, with the once-yawning gap between the two narrowing rapidly.