Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Surface Force commissioned its biggest and most advanced surface warship yet, the Nanchang (101) Type 055 guided-missile destroyer in Qingdao, Shandong Province on Sunday. The commissioning of China’s first 10,000-ton-class destroyer, which is expected to accompany Chinese aircraft carriers in battle groups, is a step forward as Beijing seeks to operate farther from its shores and punch farther into the Western Pacific. Launched in June 2017, its commissioning marks the navy’s leap from the third generation to the fourth generation of destroyers and enter into service in 2020,
The Type 055 destroyer (Renhai-class cruiser) is a class of guided missile destroyers being constructed for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Nav. It is a multi-mission design; the combination of sensors and weapons suggests a main role of area air defence, with anti-submarine warfare capabilities surpassing previous Chinese surface combatants. 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. Having a displacement of more than 10,000 tons, the 180-meter-long, 20-meter-wide Type 055 has been referred to by the Pentagon not as a destroyer, but as a larger cruiser design.
The warship’s arsenal are missiles carried in 112 universal vertical launch cells (VLS)capable of launching a combination of surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, land-attack missiles and anti-submarine missiles ; 64 cells forward and 48 cells aft. The same VLS model is used on the Type 052D destroyer, which is believed to be an implementation of the GJB 5860-2006 standard. The longest variant, with 9-metre cells, is likely used. The Type 055 is expected to carry HHQ-9 surface-to-air missiles, YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missiles, CJ-10 land-attack cruise missiles, and missile-launched anti-submarine torpedoes upon entering service.
Watch: Meet China’s first Type 055 guided missile destroyer Nanchang! This is the first ship listed by the PLA Navy in 2020, and also the first 10,000 tonne-class destroyer to join the Chinese Navy battle sequence. pic.twitter.com/nogJZXYLzA
— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) January 12, 2020