China officially launched the first of a new type of domestically built destroyer on Wednesday. The 10,000 ton warship is the latest addition to China’s rapidly expanding military.
The new destroyer, the first in a class China has dubbed “Type 055,” is said to be a significant leap forward in terms of technology employed by China’s navy.
“It is the symbol of the navy to achieve strategic transformation development,” the People’s Liberation Army Navy website said.
This new class of destroyer has been entirely developed and built within China, a stark contrast from previous forms of Chinese power projection like their sole operational carrier, the Liaoning. Although China is currently testing their first Chinese-built carrier (dubbed the Type 001 Class), their only carrier currently in service is actually a sister ship to Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov, both of which were built by the Soviet Union prior to its collapse.
“The destroyer is equipped with [sic] new type of air defense, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare weapon,” according to the website. Reports indicate that each of these reportedly advanced weapon systems are not only new as a part of this class of destroyer, but new to the Chinese Navy all together.
This new class of destroyer is comparable in size to those fielded by international competitors like the United States and Japan in the Pacific, but has raised a number of eyebrows in India. China and India have long experienced extremely strained relations, punctuated recently by a border dispute near the state of Sikkim on India’s northeastern border with Tibet. The Type 055 destroyer may be somewhat comparable to America’s ships, but India has yet to field anything close in terms of firepower or technological capability.