China’s First Type 055 Destroyer Nanchang Commissioned – Is It Just Propaganda Show Pony?

  • The new destroyer is designed by Chinese engineers.
  • The 10,000-ton class warship is equipped with anti-air, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons.
  • Last year was record breaking for China's fleet.

This week China’s first Type 055 Destroyer Nanchang was commissioned by the PLA Navy, according to the CGTN news. The People’s Liberation Army Navy, also known as the PLA Navy or PLAN, is the naval warfare branch of the People’s Liberation Army, which is the armed wing of the Communist Party of China and, by default, the national armed forces of the People’s Republic of China.

The 4th generation warship and is designed by Chinese engineers. It weighs 10,000 tons and is  equipped with anti-air, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons. It was built in 2017 and first demonstrated in April 2019.

Last year was record breaking for China’s fleet. Chinese shipyards launched 23 surface ships in the interests of the Chinese Navy in 2019:

  • 1 universal landing ship project 075;
  • 1 landing helicopter ship-Doc project 071;
  • 2 project 055 destroyers;
  • 7 project 052D destroyers;
  • 12 corvettes of project 056;

On December 26, 2019, the launch ceremony of the sixth destroyer of project 055 and the twenty-third destroyer of project 052D (in the title photo) was held at the shipyard in Dalian. Thus, in just 2019, China’s military shipbuilders launched nine destroyers for the PLA Navy, setting a kind of world record.

On February 23, 2019, the seventeenth destroyer of the project 052D “Nanying” was launched at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai.” (Chart original Source in Mandarin)

Even though China continues to forge ahead trying to assert its dominance, history tends to repeat itself. The Japanese thought they could be the main force in the Pacific once. According to the map, the Japanese Empire owned a lot of islands in the Pacific Ocean.

However, it would be naive to believe China can gain such dominance. Besides fulfilling the personal ambitions of XI Jinping, the ships are just for show. China’s fleet can’t really do much from a strategic and realistic scenario.

At this time, the US is the leader with surrounding bases in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in the Chinese seas. The only way China can be successful is if it starts annexing the islands, which would be Putin’s style of governance. This move would come with extreme repercussions, especially since China’s economy is based on manufacturing and trade. The possibility of sanctions alone could destroy its economy.

In order to gain dominance, China would have to become enemies with all bordering neighbors, including Russia. Their other option is through the Indian Ocean, but even then India has its own interests and force in that region.

It seems China is just showing its might for its own people and patriotic propaganda. There is not much China can do with their Navy. China is a bigger threat to the world by committing intellectual property theft in the defense sector, but its fleet does not have the strategic location, nor would it be successful in any specific endeavor. It is just a simple show of ambitions without having any backing or true capabilities of achieving anything with its Navy fleet. China’s Navy is not to be considered a significant threat at this time.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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