China launches 2 Type055 heavy destroyers simultaneously

The Type055 class represents the future of the Chinese Navy's strong component in the field of high-intensity surface warfare. These ships, weighing 13.000 tonnes, and carrying no less than 124 VLS including 110 long VLS, are the most imposing surface combatants designed by China, and the best armed. Even against the latest American A.Burke destroyers, or the Japanese Kongo and Atago destroyers, the Type 055s appear like sea giants, yielding only to the 2 Kirov class cruisers of the Russian Navy.

Currently, 5 Type 055 destroyers are under construction. The first was launched almost a year ago to the day, the second in the spring, and the third and fourth units were launched simultaneously on June 3. The last two units should be launched at the end of next year. 

If today, only 6 Type 055s have been officially ordered, it is more than likely that additional orders will be placed in the future. The Type 055 having a high electrical production, it is likely that the following units will be equipped with Rail Gun type cannon, and will have to enter service by 2025. It is useful to remember that, together with the Type 055, the Chinese shipyards produce Type 052D anti-aircraft destroyers of 7500 tons and 64 long VLS, Type 054A frigates (probable appearance of a new class shortly), and Type 056A corvettes. In Chinese naval doctrine, currently mainly focused on the protection of Chinese strategic zones in the China Sea, along the Silk Road, and, of course, around Taiwan, these naval units of low tonnage, but well armed, make it possible to very significantly strengthen the available firepower while multiplying the points of presence and support, so as to push the American aircraft carriers as far away as possible, and therefore limit their action capabilities.

In 6 months, Chinese shipyards will have launched 14 surface ships (including 3 Type 055 destroyers) for a total of almost 100.000 tonnes, ¼ of the total tonnage of the National Navy, 

However, the surface fleet only receives half of the credits allocated to strengthening the Chinese fleet, estimated at $106 billion in 2018 and 2023, the other half being dedicated to the submarine fleet. Information on the launches of submarines intended for the PLA is very fragmentary, but it is estimated that by 2025, the Chinese Navy will have 25 to 30 nuclear attack submarines (compared to 14 today, 4 in 2000), 75 conventional attack submarines (compared to 57 today, 38 in 2008), and 12 SSBNs (compared to 8 today, 1 in 2000).

It is certainly not with a surveillance frigate or a PHM that the French Navy will be able to exert influence in this area, nor oppose Chinese pretensions in the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and soon in the Persian Gulf and along the African coasts. 

In the event of a conflict involving China and Russia, the American fleet, and a very significant part of its air force, will have to be deployed to contain Chinese naval power. Under these conditions, what will be left to oppose Russian submarines and long-range bombers seeking to hinder the strengthening of NATO forces?

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