Chinese news outlet GlobalTimes reported that Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Type 055 Destroyer ((NATO/OSD Renhai-class cruiser) Nanchang (101) recently held intensive anti-submarine drills. During the exercises, which lasted for four consecutive days and nights, the 10,000-ton class warship maneuvered in an undisclosed area in the Yellow Sea and carried out realistic scenario-oriented anti-submarine training courses, including vessel-aircraft integrated anti-submarine operations, fleet escort duties and blockades of straits and key sea lanes. Its outstanding capabilities in a move that could keep US submarine threats away from waters near China.
In one of the exercises, the Nanchang dispatched a Z-9 vessel-borne helicopter to conduct a search in an area of suspected hostile submarine activity, and deployed sonar equipment as a complement to the chopper, so the search could cover a wide range. The drills showed the sailors’ high combat readiness and tested the Nanchang’s capabilities in an anti-submarine warfare system, including detecting submarine targets, commanding anti-submarine warfare and conducting joint fire strikes. The Nanchang was able to use its acoustic data analysis and application system to accurately distinguish the noises of the submarine.
Nanchang (101) is the first ship of China’s most powerful Type 055 large destroyers. She was commissioned on 12 January 2020. The Type 055 is expected to undertake expeditionary missions and form the primary escort for Chinese aircraft carriers. The United States classifies these ships as cruisers. The United States Navy defines a cruiser as a large multi-mission surface combatant with flagship capabilities; this suggests the U.S. expects the Type 055 to fulfill a similar role as the Ticonderoga-class cruiser. On 5 April 2021, Nanchang became the first destroyer of her class take part in an aircraft carrier group while they were spotted between Okinawa and Miyako Island.
The primary armament are missiles carried in 112-cell vertical launching system (VLS); 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 GJB 5860-2006 is capable of hot and cold launches using concentric canisters.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. Potentially, the larger cells may also carry anti-ship ballistic missiles.