Satellite images reveal major Chinese military shipyard has expanded rapidly

A major Chinese military shipyard has expanded dramatically in the past few years, a new study revealed, as Beijing endeavours to build one of the world’s most powerful naval forces. 

Satellite images show that a shipyard belonging to the Jiangnan Shipbuilding Group has grown by 64 per cent in size since 2011 and at least 18 warships have been spotted there this year. 

The shipyard is one of the most important naval shipbuilding plants in China and its name means ‘south of Yangtze River’. It’s located on Changxing Island in Shanghai at the mouth of the Yangtze River. 

A satellite image of the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai from July 28, 2011
Another satellite image taken on October 3,2018 shows the shipyard has expanded quickly
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Two satellite images of the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai taken in 2011 and 2018 show the plant has grown rapidly in size. The images were published in a report by Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington D.C. in the United States

Last year, the shipyard completed the construction of a new-generation, 10,000-tonne destroyer for the People’s Liberation Army Navy. Equipped with new air defense, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons, the formidable vessel was launched in June from Jiangnan.

The recent analysis of the Jiangnan shipyard was published by Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank based in Washington D.C. in the United States. 

It was conducted by CSIS’s China Power project, and focused primarily on the activities within the shipyard in 2018.

China's new type of domestically-built destroyer, a 10,000-tonne warship, is seen during its launching ceremony at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai on June 28, 2017

China's new type of domestically-built destroyer, a 10,000-tonne warship, is seen during its launching ceremony at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai on June 28, 2017

China’s new type of domestically-built destroyer, a 10,000-tonne warship, is seen during its launching ceremony at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai on June 28, 2017

Up to five Type 052D destroyers have been spotted on the satellite images of the shipyard this year, according to the study.

Type 052D, a class of guided-missile destroyer, has been described as the ‘backbone’ and ‘workhorse’ of the Chinese navy. A military report from China’s Sina.com last week suggested Beijing aimed to have a total of 24 of those vessels. As of August, 14 of them had been launched and the rest are being built, it is reported.

Other vessels observed include icebreaker Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, and its upgraded version Xue Long 2. 

Xue Long 2, China’s first self-developed icebreaker, was launched from the Jiangnan Shipyard in September. The ship is China’s second polar research vessel and puts Beijing on par with Washington in terms of operational icebreakers. 

Seven to 10 Type 726A air-cushioned landing crafts were also found to be moored at the shipyard throughout the year. Media reports from last year claimed that the Chinese military was mass-producing the vessels in the Jiangnan Shipyard.   

Icebreaker Xue Long 2 prepares to take water in the Jiangnan Shipyard on September 10

Icebreaker Xue Long 2 prepares to take water in the Jiangnan Shipyard on September 10

Icebreaker Xue Long 2 prepares to take water in the Jiangnan Shipyard on September 10

CSIS expert Dr. Matthew Funaiole said he and his colleagues decided to analyse the Jiangnan Shipyard to find out its importance to the modernisation of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

Dr. Funaiole told MailOnline: ‘There is a lot of interested in the PLAN’s modernisation, especially with regard to the pace at which China is producing modern, capable warships.’  

China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency last month reported that Beijing was building its third aircraft carrier, marking the first official Chinese media confirmation of the warship’s construction.

Rumour has it that the warship is being built in the Jiangnan Shipyard. 

Dr. Funaiole said the team also hoped to verify the claims, but they were not able to find any evidence of the construction of an aircraft carrier in the shipyard. 

China currently has two aircraft carriers: Liaoning, a refitted Soviet ship it bought from Ukraine that went into service in 2012, and Type 001A, the country’s first domestically designed and built carrier. 

China's President Xi Jinping has vowed to build a world-leading naval force for the country

China's President Xi Jinping has vowed to build a world-leading naval force for the country

China’s President Xi Jinping has vowed to build a world-leading naval force for the country

China’s president Xi Jinping has vowed to build a leading navy since he took the office in 2012. 

In April, China held its largest-ever naval parade on the South China Sea which involved 48 warships, 76 warplanes and more than 10,000 soldiers, according to Xinhua News Agency.

While reviewing the parade, President Xi said the mission for China to build a strong naval force had never been more pressing. 

Link hienalouca.com

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