Surface Forces: August 12, 2004


While China has purchased new, high tech, Sovremenny class destroyers from Russia, acquiring the ability to adequately maintain them is taking longer. Russia supplied spare parts, technical advisors and help in setting up a maintenance facility for them, and the new Russian Kilo class subs, at the Ningbo naval base. The same type of specialized maintenance bases were established for Luhu and Luhai class ships that used a lot of imported French and Italian electronic systems. These imports began in the 1990s, and China appears willing to be patient and wait until it has built up a sufficient amount of experience, and adequately trained sailors and technicians, to use these new ships to their fullest. This may take another decade. But by then, China will be keeping its modern warships at sea often enough (several months a year) to provide the kind of experience found in world class fleets like those of the United States or Britain. But for now, Chinas handful of high tech warships are still in training, and not quite ready for prime time. 


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