In 2022, the naval forces of the People's Liberation Army admitted into service 3 Type 052DL anti-aircraft destroyers of 7,500 tons, as well as 3 Type 055 heavy destroyers of 11,000 tons . In the same year, the US Navy, for its part, admitted into service only a single destroyer, the USS Frank E. Petersen Jr, a 9,400 ton ship of the Arleigh Burke Flight IIA class.
The Chinese ships were manufactured by two shipyards, one in Dalian, the other in Jiangnan, which have launched between 5 and 8 new destroyers of these two classes each year since 2020, i.e. a sustained rate greater than the cumulative production of American, Japanese, South Korean and Australian shipyards, this explaining the very palpable concern of the Pentagon and its allies regarding the rise in power of the Chinese fleet.
But things could become even more difficult for Western planners. Indeed, a photo published on Chinese social networks and relayed on Twitter shows that a second shipyard, located in Dalian, has also started the construction of a destroyer, probably a new Type 055.
This discovery naturally suggests, if it were to be corroborated by other construction projects on this site, that the Chinese naval forces could further increase, in the years to come, the annual production of new destroyers, both to replace the ships the oldest still in service only to expand the fleet.
However, this conclusion should be weighed. Indeed, satellite observation of the Dalian shipyard shows that it has mobilized a large part of its productive resources to accelerate the manufacturing of new LNG carriers, and thus respond to the very strong global demand in this area, which has increased since the start of the war in Ukraine.
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