The Chinese Navy will have received 8 new destroyers in 2021 alone

As we know, the Chinese military naval industry has been extremely successful for several years. Thus, from 2017 to 2020, it had enabled the Chinese Navy to accept no less than 21 destroyers in active service, i.e. three times as many ships of this type as those entered into service with the US Navy, the South Korean Navy, the Royal Australian Navy and the Japanese Naval Self-Defense Forces over the same period.

Far from slowing down, it sets a new record in 2021 with no less than 8 destroyers delivered to the Naval Forces of the People's Liberation Army, or more precisely, 3 Type 055 cruisers and 5 anti-aircraft destroyers Type 052DL, two classes of ship having absolutely nothing to envy to the most powerful Western naval units.

This is the highest number of destroyers ever delivered in a single year in the past 50 years, the previous record dating back to 1994 when the US Navy received six Arleigh Burke-class destroyers simultaneously.

The more than sustained pace of Chinese shipyards does not seem destined to diminish in the months and years to come. Thus, according to the Chinese media, a new order for 8 Type 055 cruisers and 16 Type 052DL destroyers would have been served at the end of the year to the country's shipyards, so as to maintain the current rate of deliveries.

In addition, a new batch of Type 054A frigates was also ordered last year, and deliveries started this year, while 20 Type 056 corvettes in service with the Chinese navy were transferred to the coast guards at the end of the year, so as to free the crews to arm the new ocean going vessels under construction.

Chinese Navy reportedly orders 16 new Type 052DL anti-aircraft destroyers
The Type 052DL anti-aircraft destroyers have an elongated helicopter hangar to accommodate the new Z-20 naval helicopter and a new low frequency aerial surveillance radar designed to detect stealth aircraft

If this rate is maintained until 2026, and there is no reason to believe that this will not be the case, the Chinese Navy will then have, in terms of surface combatants, 16 Type 055 cruisers, 42 Type 052 anti-aircraft destroyers of all types, including 24 Type 052DL in stretched version, and 50 fRegattas Type 054A, a naval force substantially equivalent to that available to the US Navy and its Australian, New Zealand, Japanese and South Korean allies in the Pacific.

Force equivalence will also be achieved, or close to being achieved, in the field of amphibious vessels. Western naval forces will have little more than their submarine and naval air fleet to keep the upper hand over the Chinese Navy, even though the latter did not represent 1/5ᵉ of the forces of these same allies in 2000.

Beyond the unparalleled industrial capacities available to Beijing, we see, and the episode of the transfer of the Type 056 corvettes is there to demonstrate it, that the expansion of the Chinese Navy is starting to come up against other factors, in particularly that of human resources.


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