China launched two 10,000-tonne Type 055 guided-missile destroyers by the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC) , Liaoning province. The two guided-missile destroyers vessel, which were launched simultaneously, will join the rapidly growing People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or Chinese Navy) fleet. The Type 055 destroyers is the latest and most potent surface combatant designed and produced in China. It can fulfill a vast array of missions such as area air defence, anti-surface warfare (ASuW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), electronic warfare (EW), land attack, long-range patrol. The latest ships are the third and fourth to be launched, with all four entering the water in a little over a year. The first Type 055 was launched at the Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard near Shanghai in June 2017 and the second one in April 2018.
The Type 055 destroyers are the largest surface combatants built for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and are an upscaled development of the Type 052D (Luyang III)-class destroyers. The class features an integrated mast in which a number of newly designed planar sensor arrays are installed. In addition to protecting the country’s interests against all malicious acts, the other main role of the Type 055 is to escort PLAN carrier strike groups (CSG) that are used to project forces, now limited to one with aircraft carrier Liaoning, but it will soon be expanded with the arrival of the new STOBAR carrier and also a third carrier (conventional / CATOBAR) in the next 10 years.
The current Type 055’s weapons fit includes: The 130 mm H/PJ-38 main gun capable of firing several types of rounds including guided ones, the H/PJ-11 CIWS with a fire rate of 10,000 rd/min, the HQ-10 short-range missiles, decoy launchers and torpedoes. All other offensive and defensive missiles are found in the 112 silos of the universal VLS. The Chinese navy plans to equip its first few Type 055 with HQ-9B anti-aircraft missiles with a range of 200 km, YJ-18A anti-ship missiles, a new type of medium range anti-aircraft missile and land attack cruise missiles based on the YJ-18 family, ie, practically the same as those already found on Type 052D destroyers. It is also likely that the new anti-submarine missile Yu-8A is among the ship’s arsenal.
The Type 055 Destroyer has a length of 180 meters, a beam of 20 meters and a draft of 6.6 meters for a full load displacement of 13,000 tons. The United States classifies these ships as cruisers. The United States Navy defines a cruiser as a large multi-mission surface combatant with flag facilities; this suggests the U.S. expects the Type 055 to fulfil a similar role as the Ticonderoga-class cruiser. The Type 055 adopts a conventional flared hull with distinctive stealthy features including an enclosed bulbous bow that hides mooring points, anchor chains and other equipment. The bow and main deckhouse are configured similarly to previous Type 052C/D destroyers. A continuous structure amidship increases internal volume and reduces radar cross-section. The smoke stack design reduces both infrared signature and radar cross-section. The first four vessels should be delivered to the Chinese Navy before the end of the 13th Five-Year Plan (which runs from 2016 to 2020).