How big is the Chinese Navy

Destroyer: Chinese now have the strongest

The stealth ship Nanchang has 112 missile silos, the American Zumwalt class only 80

This week the Chinese People's Liberation Army officially put the destroyer Nanchang into operation at the former Hohenzollern naval base in Tsingtau. The state broadcaster CGTN praised the stealth ship as a great achievement of Chinese engineering and as a "symbol of the development of the national navy". With 10,000 tons of water displacement, it is a little smaller than the American Zumwalt destroyers, but still stronger: instead of 80 missile silos, it has 112.

In addition to missiles for ship missiles, anti-submarine missiles and anti-aircraft missiles, cruise missiles can also be launched that can reach distant targets on land. The system in which the missiles are integrated is said to be comparable to the American Aegis (which was named after the shield of the Greek god Zeus). The two helicopters, which are housed in a stern hangar, are mainly used to combat submarines.

Largest Navy after the USA

The surface areas of the Nanchang were designed - like stealth planes - in such a way that the radar cross-section is as small as possible and the radar reflection is as low as possible (see LOUT: Airbus presents stealth demonstrator). However, this is not a unique selling point of the ship, but now also applies to destroyers from other countries. The same applies to the radar-absorbing coating of the outer surfaces and the armament. In order to protect against rapid detection by infrared systems, the exhaust gases of stealth ships are also cooled.

Even before the Nanchang destroyer was commissioned, the People's Republic had the world's largest navy after that of the USA. A total of 215,000 men serve in their three fleets, which are supposed to secure 14,500 kilometers of coastline with 1,400 harbors and four million square kilometers of claimed sea area. In addition, there are international trade and supply routes, which are particularly important for a relatively low-oil export nation. Therefore, in the noughties, China sent ships to Africa for the first time since the Ming Dynasty expeditions, where the Zhoushan and Xuzhou protect Chinese merchant ships from Somali pirates.

Russians are planning new Lider class

They are two of a total of around 50 frigates that the Chinese Navy currently has according to the findings of the US Department of Defense. There are also 230 patrol boats, 225 landing craft, 160 transporters, 65 mine-layers, 60 submarines, 26 destroyers and two aircraft carriers: the Liaoning and the Type 001A. The Liaoning is a Soviet aircraft carrier that was completed in China, the Type 001A its own development, which is soon to be followed by the Type 002 (China is catching up quickly in the arms race with the USA).

The Chinese also used to buy the destroyers they are now building themselves from the Russians, who supplied them with guided missile ships of the Sowremenny class, among other things. The Russian Navy intends to replace these Soviet-class destroyers with those of the announced new Lider-class, a further development of the Udaloj-class stealth destroyer. In the USA they are sticking to the also camouflaged Zumwalt class for the time being, but want to equip them with drones in addition to Tomahawk cruise missiles and helicopters. (Peter Mühlbauer)

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