Delivery of the first of two Sovremenny - class destroyers from Russia to Chinese Navy has just taken place. The vessel was built in the St Petersburg shipyard.
This very potent warship has been conducting sea trials with a mixed Russian-Chinese crew since February. The Sovremenny has eight launchers for SS-N22 ship-to-ship missiles. The missiles have a range of 160km, can carry nuclear warheads and are difficult to counter. The new warships have a strong anti-submarine armament, including a bow-mounted sonar, torpedo tubes, rocket launchers and a Russian KA-28 Helix twin-rotor helicopter.
While the Sovremennys represent a big advance in the navy's capabilities, analysts believe the Chinese Navy could face a steep learning curve in acquiring the necessary skills to operate the vessels effectively. They will pose a potential threat both to Taiwan warships and to any American aircraft carrier-based battle groups that may in future be deployed in the Taiwan Strait.