Type 055 / DDG-X [Area Defense Project]

The PLAN seeks to push its maritime defense perimeter further seaward. This change in operations will require newer, more modern warships and submarines capable of operating out to the Ryukyu Islands and into the South China Sea. At these extended ranges, the platforms will have to be better armed to enable defense from all methods of attack. The Navy has been conducting research and acquiring foreign technology in an effort to improve the broad range of naval warfare capabilities; it also is acquiring new classes of ships that will be better suited for operations out to the limits of the East and South China Seas.

The PLAN continues to have long-standing concerns about its capability to engage enemy aircraft, cruise missiles and precision-guided munitions. This problem is becoming more significant as the Navy strives to operate away from the protection of land-based air defenses. PLAN surface combatants have a limited, and primarily self-defense, anti-air warfare (AAW) capability. Only about twelve of its destroyers and frigates are outfitted with SAM systems; the others are armed only with AAA and possibly man-portable air defense systems.

In addition, PLAN warships lacked the modern air surveillance systems and data links required for area air defense missions. The combination of short-range weapons and lack of modern surveillance systems limits the PLAN to self-defense and point-defense anti-air warfare only. Consequently, except in unusual circumstances, no PLAN ship is capable of conducting air defense of another ship. Additionally, the PLAN could not reliably defend against either current or projected anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM).

There has been some speculation that a new design would be constructed with a 10,000 ton displacement. This might be equipped with the "Rif" Naval S-300 system, which utilizes a single Tombstone phased array radar, in a vertical launching system (VLS).

Since late 2012, Chinese military forums began discussion of a new Type 055 missile destroyer. Sources reported that the design of the destroyer has been completed. The destroyer was to have better stealth design with low noise, infrared and electromagnetic characteristics. It was said to have a new generation of multi-module active phased array radar with a range of 600 km able to monitor and control several hundred targets and automatically distribute targets to various combat units (including the destroyer itself and other combat units), and a joint combat data distribution transmission system similar to the Link-16 of US Navy. Its firepower was said to be 3 to 5 times greater than that of US Arleigh Burke class destroyer and 2 times greater than that of US Ticonderoga class cruiser, although it was unclear what this was supposed to mean. These reports claim that a Chinese aircraft carrier combat group will contain one carrier, two 055 destroyers, four 052D destroyers and four 054A frigates.

By one observer concluded as of mid-2013 that "No doubt PLAN would not stop at Type 054D... and will carry on advancing if economic and politics continue to be stable and there are no major problem happening internally. But up till now, unless there are official sounding or anyone who could provide good solid source and references, it seemed like alot of hot air are around and alot of fanboys dream."

Join the mailing list