December 30, 2005:
China has received a third Sovremenny class destroyer from Russia. The first two were taken out of Russian navy service and sold to China. These next two are newly built, and improved versions. These ships, displacing about 8,800 tons each, are equipped to defend itself with anti-aircraft missiles, and attack enemy ships with eight large (4.5 ton "Sunburn"), supersonic anti-ship missiles. Each ship has an anti-submarine helicopter, 48 anti-aircraft missiles, four torpedo tube, mines, depth charges, sonar, two 130mm (5 inch) guns and a modern electronic warfare system. These ships cost $700 million each, about half what their American counterparts, the latest Aegis destroyers, go for. The next class of American destroyers, the DDX, will cost several billion dollars each. The Russian navy has a very spotty record, and, while formidable on paper, the Sovremenny class is basically untried technology. Some of it may work quite well. The only problem is, no one is sure what parts.