China's annual destroyer production could grow further in coming years

In 2022, the naval forces of the People's Liberation Army admitted to service 3 Type 052DL 7500-ton anti-aircraft destroyers, as well as 3 Type 055 heavy destroyers of 11.000 tons. In that same year, the US Navy, for its part, admitted to service only one 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 2020 and 5 new destroyers of these two classes each year since 8, i.e. a sustained rate higher than the cumulative production of the American, Japanese, South Korean and Australian shipyards, which explains the very palpable concern of the Pentagon and its allies about the rise of the Chinese fleet.

But things may well get even more difficult for Western planners. Indeed, a snapshot published on Chinese social networks and relayed on twitter, shows that a second shipyard, located in Dalian, would also have started the construction of a destroyer, probably a new Type 055.

New destroyers produced in a third Chinese shipyard
This snapshot, located in the Dagushan area of ​​Dalian, shows that a third Chinese shipyard now produces destroyers. The construction of at least two new units of this class has been observed recently

This discovery naturally suggests, if it were to be corroborated by other construction starts on this site, that the Chinese naval forces could still increase, in the years to come, the annual production of new destroyers, both to replace ships the oldest ones 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 manufacture of new LNG carriers, and thus meet the very strong global demand in this field, which has been amplified since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.


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