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An Overview of China’s Domestic Destroyers and Future Requirements

Published Jan 02, 2020
Updated Mar 02, 2020

A translated Chinese language report – China Launches the 10th ShieldWarship this year, Extended Version of 05D Destroyer Already Delivered”. The article read as under: –

2019 is about to pass. Domestic destroyers There are still good news on domestic destroyers. Another one 052D improved destroyer is launched (by China). It is already the 10th domestic shield warship launched in 2019. At the same time, the People’s Navy (PLA Navy) has also received the first 052D improved destroyer, and the national surface force continued to develop on the fast track.

Previously, the domestic destroyers were mainly designed to pick up Z-9 and Ka-28 (Card-28) anti-submarine helicopters. In addition, had to control the tonnage and costs. Therefore, the helicopter take-off and landing decks were short and there was no problem for the short Z-9 and Ka-28 to take off and land.

However, the tactical technical indicators of the Z-9 and Ka-28 antisubmarine helicopters were relatively backward, and it was difficult to resist the modern advanced quiet nuclear submarines.

Therefore, the Navy has developed the Z-20 shipborne helicopter. Its tactical technical indicators can already comparable as good as the MH-60R and it will be the main naval ship-borne helicopter after 2020. But the length of Z-20 is larger than that of the Z-9 and Ka-27.

The take-off and landing on domestic destroyers seem to be more cramped, so the Navy and the warship building industry carried out improvements on 052D and lengthened the helicopter deck to facilitate the take-off and landing of Z-20 helicopters.

We can see that the 052D improved model is just a simple extension of the deck, without changing the line type of the ship. The advantage is that the design is simpler, the difficulty is lesser, and the impact on the ship is relatively small. Of course, the disadvantage is that the deck length is relatively limited. However, the length for the take-off and landing of Z-20 carrier-borne helicopter is more than enough.

This improvement also has the advantage that it is more convenient to modify the ships on active service. Previously, there have built 13 domestic 052D destroyers and 6 052C destroyers. These ships can be upgraded to lengthened types during intermediate repairs.


According to overseas data, domestic aircraft carriers are still being developed, which means that we will form more aircraft carrier formations and need more escort ships. In addition, the first domestic amphibious assault ship has been launched in 2019.

The People’s Navy (PLA Navy) may also form an amphibious strike group, which also requires a certain number of escort ships. Now the construction of domestic destroyers can be described as surging with activities, reaching a staggering 10 ships in 2019, including 2 Type 055 and 8 Type 052D improved destroyers, and it is already possible to form an aircraft carrier formation. In this way, as of the end of 2019, the number of 052D series destroyers constructed reached 23 ships and the number of 055 destroyers reached 6 ships.

This number is still increasing. According to this trend, it is widely believed that the People’s Navy will set up another (3rd) aircraft carrier formation by 2025 and the fourth aircraft carrier formation will be established around 2025-2030. In addition, there are certain ships that cooperate with amphibious assault ships to form amphibious strike groups, and the overall combat capability of the People’s Navy will take a big step forward.

After 2025, the first Type 052C destroyer would be in service for more than 20 years. The service life of a modern surface ships is generally about 30 years. Therefore, after 2025, a new generation of general destroyers need to be considered. Compared with the 052D series, it may use a series of new technologies, including stealth, integrated radio frequency, integrated information processing, etc., will have better performance and may further enhance the combat capabilities of naval aircraft carrier formations.


Editor’s Note – Translation by Manoj V Nair, Confirmatory checks have not been carried out on authenticity of the translation and errors and omissions are expected.