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01:55 PM, May 13, 2019
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The two new Type 052D destroyers launched Friday (image: Global Times)

China plans to build over 30 Type 052D guided missile destroyers and is eyeing an export market for them.

Two new Type 052D guided missile destroyers, developed from predecessor Type 052C, were launched in the Dalian Shipyard on Friday, reports wenweipo.com.

China now has 20 Type 052Ds either in active service or being fitted out for service soon, the report said.

"The platform (of the Type 052D) is pretty reliable and it uses very mature technologies. These make it suitable for mass production. China will have over 30 of them," Wei Dongxu, a military expert told Global Times Sunday.

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.

In July 2018, China launched two Type 055 destroyers, capable of displacing 10,000 tons and launching 112 vertical launch missile cells.

Though the Type 055 seems superior to the Type 052D in all ways, the former would not replace the latter anytime soon," Chinese analysts said.

According to Wei, the Type 055 destroyer can provide stronger air defense umbrellas to, for example, an aircraft carrier combat group. "It is not necessary to dispatch a ship with its caliber for every single mission, because for many operations, the smaller and less expensive Type 052D would suffice," he added.

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