A number of advanced warships will gradually come into service in the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (P.L.A.N.) in the next two years. The bulk of these ships will belong to two new guided missile destroyer classes called 052B and 052C. The 052C will be fitted with an advanced integrated air defense system, supposedly similar to the U.S. Aegis phased-array radar display, with a high capability to engage multiple targets simultaneously.
Evolution of the Chinese Fleet
Chinese shipyards have already completed two 052C class ships, which are expected to be commissioned in 2005. It is probable that P.L.A.N. intends to bring at least six ships of this class into service, deploying them in the three main operative battle groups that form the bulk of Beijing's fleet. This strengthening of forces will constitute a notable improvement in the performance of China's high sea forces. The 052C class warship is equipped with an air defense system based on a sensor apparently similar to the Aegis device and equipped with an HQ9 surface-to-air missile (SAM), considered a long-range vertically launched missile with a 90 km range (56 miles).