China is expected to build even more guided missile destroyers, Chinese military analysts said on Sunday as China launched two Type 052D guided missile destroyers on Friday in Dalian, a coastal city in Northeast China's Liaoning Province.
Decked with Chinese national flags, the two Type 052D destroyers were launched in the Dalian Shipyard on Friday with the assistance of tug boats, marking the 19th and 20th of launches of their kind, news website wenweipo.com reported on Friday.
China now has 20 Type 052Ds either in active service or being fitted out for service soon, the report said.
Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times on Sunday that 20 would not be the end for the ship's development, and China might have more than 30 in the future.
"The platform [of the Type 052D] is pretty reliable and it uses very mature technologies. These make it suitable for mass production," Wei said, noting that the destroyers will play crucial roles in China's fleet air defense system.
The domestically developed Type 052D destroyer saw significant upgrades on its predecessor, the Type 052C.
It is equipped with weapons and equipment including advanced active electronically scanned array radar systems and 64 vertical launch missile cells.
The ship is capable of undertaking missions including escort and air defense, experts said.
Dalian Shipyard's double launch of the Type 052Ds on Friday came after another double launch in July 2018.
The vessels launched back then were two Type 055s, China's more advanced destroyer featuring a displacement of more than 10,000 tons and 112 vertical launch missile cells.
China has planned eight Type 055s for the first batch, Upolitics, a WeChat account run by Beijing Youth Daily, reported.
The Type 055 made its parade debut on April 23, when the People's Liberation Army Navy celebrated its 70th anniversary.
Though the Type 055 seems superior to the Type 052D in all ways, Chinese analysts said the former would not replace the latter anytime soon.
The Type 055 destroyer can provide stronger air defense umbrellas to, for example, an aircraft carrier combat group, but it is not necessary to dispatch a ship with its caliber for every single mission, because for many the smaller and less expensive Type 052D would suffice, Wei said.
The US Navy currently operates more than 60 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and more than 20 Ticonderoga-class cruisers.