On 28 December 2005, a third Russian-built Sovremenny -class destroyer was delivered to the Chinese PLA Navy. The destroyer, named Taizhou , was launched in April 2004 and is shown soon after delivery. Built to a slightly modified design than the original two units in Chinese service, the Taizhou and a soon-to-be-delivered sister ship reportedly have improved surface-to-air missile systems and an upgraded, longer-range variant of the SS-N-22 antiship missile. The destroyers are primarily intended for surface warfare tasks, including antiship, shore-bombardment, and antiair defense. The fourth Sovremenny -class destroyer is expected in service by the end of this year. All four will likely be based at Zhoushan Naval Base as part of China's East Sea Fleet. In addition to the four destroyers purchased from Russia, China is building a large number of new warships domestically, including new Project 052C destroyers, Jiangwei -II-class and Project 054 -class frigates, and new amphibious assault ships, along with three classes of conventionally-powered and two types of nuclear-powered submarines.
In late November 2005, the Dutch parliament formally approved the long-discussed purchase of 30 Block IV Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles from the United States. The deal, worth $67 million (roughly $2.2 million per missile) will provide the Dutch fleet with a significant long-range precision-guided strike option, hitherto unavailable. The missiles will arm the first two De Zeven Provinciën -class frigates ( De Zeven Provinciën , pictured right, and Tromp ) beginning in 2008. Other recently announced modifications of the frigates include improvements to the Thales Smart-L early-warning radar that will extend detection ranges, improve data-processing, and enhance the class"s ability to counter theater ballistic missiles. Testing the improved radar is expected later this year.
Britain's new Type 45 destroyer was launched on 1 February 2006 by BAE Systems' Scotstoun Shipyard. Expected to enter service during 2009, HMS Daring , shown right at launching, is the first of six Type 45s now on order. A total of eight destroyers are eventually expected to enter service, though original plans called for 12 to be built. Escalating costs and budgets cuts, however, forced a shift in the program. Armed with the new principal antiair missile system (PAAMS), the class will displace 7,300 tons when fully loaded and travel in excess of 29 knots. The ships are among the most advanced destroyers in the world and will serve as replacements for older Type 42 destroyers, in service since the 1970s. Several other large naval programs are ongoing for the United Kingdom, including two 60,000-ton Queen Elizabeth -class aircraft carriers for delivery between 2012 and 2015, and six Astute -class nuclear-powered attack submarines, the first of which is not expected until late 2008. In recent months the Royal Navy has said goodbye to several major combatants, including the 2005 decommissioning of the aircraft carrier Invincible and the January 2006 decommissioning of the submarine Swiftsure .