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China launches 10,000-ton Type 055 destroyer for PLAN
July 26, 2017
Photo credit: haohanfw.com

China launches 10,000-ton Type 055 destroyer for PLAN

Jiangnan-Changxing Shipyard in Shanghai launched a Type 055 destroyer for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) on Wednesday, June 28.

The 10,000-ton warship, effectively China’s largest modern warship to-date (China Daily), appears to have a length of 175-180 metres and beam of roughly 20 metres (Defense News).

The Type 055 builds upon China’s ship design work of recent years, particularly the Type 052D destroyer, which is currently serving with the PLAN fleet.

Its marquee features include a substantial armament load, one reportedly (via China Daily) comprising of more than 100 vertical launch system (VLS) cells for anti-ship missiles (AShM), land-attack cruise missiles (LACM), surface-to-air missiles (SAM) and, potentially, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) rockets (ASROC).

China’s recent success in munitions development provide the Type 055 with a wide assortment of missiles, among them the C-802 AShM, YJ-18 LACM, HQ-16 (medium-range) and HQ-9 (long-range) SAM and CY-series ASROC. The Type 055 utilizes multi-functional phased-array radars for surveillance as well as target tracking and engagement purposes.

The Type 055, along with the PLAN Type 052-series of destroyers and burgeoning Type 054A frigate fleets, will form the mainstay of the PLAN’s future carrier battle groups.

Notes & Comments:

The 2016 U.S. Department of Defence report concluded that China is building the PLAN to become a true “Blue Water” navy, i.e. a force that could reach what China perceives as its “far seas.”

However, the intent is largely driven to counteract naval growth from Japan, South Korea and India. The latter – like China – is building a fleet comprising of complete carrier battle groups, which Beijing views as a concern considering India’s position as a key U.S. ally with regards to the Pacific Ocean and East Asia.

It is not known how the Type 055 – or any of China’s other armament technologies – fare against direct U.S. or Western European analogues, but China is evidently succeeding at developing, producing and fielding contemporary weapon systems such as passive and active phased-array radars, guided munitions, modern surface and sub-surface combatants and combat aircraft, among others.

Beijing’s vast research and development investments and domestic scale will allow it to iterate (on quality and performance) whilst regularly field modernized variants. In a sense, the Type 055 – like the J-20, Z-10 and others – reflect both a culmination and baseline platform of Chinese weapons development.

  • Steve

    Chinese shopbuilding is progressing exponentially. We need to buy frigates ~3000 tons with a 16-32 VLS cells. If we are not getting any of those then rely on F-22P and prayers.

    • kaster

      When will the navy sign up for MILGEM.

      • Steve

        All is shrouded in secrecy as always. I hope it is good (bigger better weapons) rather than bad (expensive and with kickbacks) secrecy.

    • Qasim57

      Things in Pakistan are in a limbo – *really* hard to predict how things will look like in the next couple of years, and alot does seem to depend on the political situation (upon which our economic situation is closely dependent on).

      Janes reported that Pakistan’s highly likely to spend something like $12 billion on big-ticket defence items. I hope that includes large displacement ships (especially things with excellent, long-range surface-to-air capability), something like the S-400 (or atleast the latest S-300 or HQ-9 variants).

      Chinese subs and their sub-launched cruise missiles are also a very big force equaliser – India thinks it’s military base in the Andaman Islands would be safe because of multi-layered ballistic missile defence shields on mainland India that Pakistani nukes would have to cross. Pakistani subs that can operate across in the Bay of Bengal or Andaman sea and launch ballistic missiles from up close, would upset that calculus.

      • mh1975

        Pakistan is crippled by its leadership both political and military, firstly the civilian and military leaders are traitors, they serve the intersts of the US first and foremost, after that they serve their own interests, the intersts of pakistan has very little bearing on their decisions,

        secondly the issue of corruption also hobbles development in pakistan, it is always better for the military and civillian leaders of pakistan to buy foreign weapons as big kick back are availiable, whilst with domestic production kick backs are harder to hide.

        hence pakistan still cannot produce the requiste steel to make the simplest of ships

        • Qasim57

          Most of the third world is hobbled by the corrupt “elite” class that are in power no matter who rules. You simply can’t get into power without assistance from the “electables” who are a part of every power structure. The British/colonials nurtured a class of locals, local in appearance and color, but British in opinions, preferences and loyalties.

          But I am not despondent or fatalistic about our future. Pakistan is more vibrant and rebellious towards oppressors, no tyrant or dictator (military or “democratic”) has been able to Lord over us for decades and decades, like Mugabe or Saud.

          And despite immense difficulties, Pakistan’s churning out 4+ Gen fighter jets with increasing local capacity and capability. Not to mention our long-range ballistic missile arsenal as well as nukes that, even to foreign unbiased sources, seemed superior in characteristics to India’s arsenal.

          Pakistan has always had great potential and we perform our best when humbled after failures. I think it’s about time Pakistan realizes it’s potential.

        • Ali Afzal

          What are you talking about dude, we are receiving technology from China & Turkey and the local production of some weapons have already started

        • TW

          Pakistan doesn’t serve the US interests anylonger. Not when they have supported the Taliban. That’s why you see a shift to India

    • bill

      I am quite agreed with most of ur points but considering present and future requirements of PN along with our limitations perhaps big destroyers like Type 55 are not useful or affordable for PN. However it is time for PN not only to get Turkish corvettes with capable Medium range SAM but also to modernize F22Ps with a capable medium range SAM also. Further we have to increase number of frigates as we have to retire 5 F21s and so far getting only 4 corvettes.

      • Steve

        Of course we can’t afford anything more than a 3-4000 ton ship. However we can pack a big punch with a good quiet stealthy design having AESA radars, as large VLS array as possible, and good missiles. We need 4 to start with. Just hope not corvettes with no VLS, what’s the point. I fear the navy will buy Ada rather than Istanbul class, present it to the clueless public as a huge deal making defence ‘impregnable’, and alliance with a ‘brotherly’ country as well.

  • Qasim57

    Do you think the Type 055 suplements the smaller displacement general-purpose Type 054A, or is this a next step forward that’s better than the Type 054 in every single way.

    The SAM on this seems substantially better, Pakistan should really get excellent naval surface-to-air capability. Our Type 053H3 is not very powerful in this area.

    • Compliment. The PLAN has four tiers: Type 055 (cruiser), Type 052 (DDG), Type 054 (FFG) and Type 056 (corvette). Each is to serve a specific role and the Type 055 will help China build out a strategic or force projection presence.

      • Qasim57

        Nice. Hoping Pakistan opts for a higher tier/class of warships in the upcoming years – along with newer Type 054A warships in the same frigate class that we do operate

  • TW

    These look like they can be a real force to go against. Maybe they might outclass the Burke class

    • Joe Kaufman

      I wonder if the Ticonderoga class can match this since the Burkes are easily defeated by fishing boats and cargo ships.

  • Qasim57

    @saqrkh:disqus would you agree that Pakistan’s need for heavier-displacement warships is pressing (especially anti-air?), and do you think Pak could realistically expect China to sell something like the Type 055, if our economy picks up?

    • Large AAW frigates and AAW-capable destroyers are generally very expensive to procure and to operate. One of the constraints Pakistan has is that every procurement is a trade-off. So to fund 2 proper AAW frigates, some acquisitions will need to be rolled back a bit, like the Hangor SSPs (e.g. from 8 to 4-6).

      On paper it might not sound bad, but in reality, the the PN could be stuck with two limited pillars (e.g. partial AAW coverage and light sub-surface power) instead of one fully adept pillar (e.g. a large submarine fleet). With the right munitions and well-trained crew, that large submarine fleet would be a real problem for most powers (ASW is far from easy, even with lots of resources).

      • Qasim57

        @saqrkh:disqus Thanks for the in-depth and knowledgeable reply we’ve all come to expect from Quwa 🙂

        One quick suggestion on Quwa – when opening Quwa.org, I would recommend changing the author name to “Editorial” instead of writing under your own name (it seems more professional, rather than a one-man outfit).

        Hope you don’t mind – the content is so well-written and high-quality, that one can genuinely see this becoming one of the leading defence news portals in our region. Best of luck and best wishes!

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