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Type 055 Guided Missile Cruiser

Type 055 is China's newest generation of guided-missile destroyers, or more properly, guided missile cruiser. The 180-meter-long, 20-meter-wide destroyer will be equipped with 112 vertical launch missile cells capable of launching a combination of surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship cruise missiles, land-attack cruise missiles and anti-submarine missiles. It has a displacement greater than 13,000 tons and can fire various kinds of missiles, including China's long-range land-attack cruise missile. Its firepower is thought to be twice that of the Type 052D, the largest and most powerful surface combatant commissioned in the PLA Navy.

While the Type 055 is classifed as a destroyer, outside China it would be considered a cruiser as its large size and heavy displacement are comparable to that of the United States' Ticonderoga class cruiser. Li Jie, a senior researcher for the PLA Navy, said the vessel displaces about 13,000 tons. The latest version of the United States' Arleigh Burke class, the largest family of destroyers in the world, has a full displacement of 9,800 tons. South Korea's Sejong the Great class displaces 11,000 tons while Japan's Atago class displaces 10,000 tons.

China's new Type 055 guided missile cruiser/ destroyer entered the water at Shanghai's Jiangnan Shipyard during a launching ceremony on the morning of June 28, 2017. Type 055 is the most advanced surface combatant ship ever built at home. China's increasingly powerful navy launched its most advanced domestically produced destroyer taking a giant stride in building complex naval platforms indigenously at a time of rising competition with other naval powers such as the United States, Japan and Europe.

China's Type 055 destroyer is very roughly analogous to something between the U.S Ticonderoga class cruiser and the Zumwalt class destroyer. It has similar capabilities and size to the Ticonderoga class, but it also packs new technologies that will impact the future of Chinese surface combatant design like the Zumwalt class does. The ship's stealthy exterior and its enclosed sensor mast are situated in between the latest Arleigh Burke class destroyers and the Zumwalt class.

Type 55 destroyers use a common vertical launch system that can launch anti-aircraft, anti-submarine, anti-ship missiles, and can also launch land attack cruise missiles. The number of vertical launch units of the 055 may be between the 122 units of the U.S. Ticonderoga cruiser and the 96 units of the "Arleigh Burke" class III, or may slightly exceed the Ticonderoga level of 122 units. A substantial increase in payload will give the Type 055 powerful anti-ship, air defense, anti-missile and anti-submarine combat capability. In contrast, the design of the DDG-1000 in the United States is biased towards land attack capability with obvious weaknesses in air defense. The combat capability of the air defense at sea is weaker than that of Type 055 and the overall combat capability is different. The tonnage of the Arleigh Burke III destroyer is less than that of the Type 055.

The emergence of the 055 missile destroyer is a historic turning point for the Chinese navy moving far into the sea. According to the "White Paper on Military Strategy," the strategic positioning of the Chinese navy is the two main lines of coastal defense and distant guard. The mission of far-sea guarding includes not only the protection of the shipping of the Gulf of Aden, but also the protection and control of China's overseas investment, overseas Chinese and important strategic interests.

Chinse military experts told reporters that the modern maritime anti-ship operations require more and more various anti-ship missiles of high mobility and rapidity, requiring the ship's air defense system to operate in a relatively short period of time. Surface ships are now vulnerable to multiple attacks on successive attacks. The anti-aircraft capability of surface ships has not only been solved by a good radar or a good anti-aircraft missile, but the tactical functions of modern warships depend on a large amount of electronic technology and weapons systems onboard ships.

The Chinese Navy Type 055 large-scale missile destroyer has an overall length of 182.6 meters, a breadth of 20.9 meters, 7.2 meters draft, full load displacement of 13,200 tons. Armament includes 112 units of universal vertical launch system, H/PJ-38 single tube 130 mm naval gun, 1130 short-range defense artillery systems, two triple anti-submarine torpedo launchers,Red Flag 10 short-range air defense missile system, and four 726-4 multi-purpose jamming missile launching system. Electronics include a dual-band phased array radar, integrated mast and integrated radio frequency system. Other features include dual independent helicopter hangars, ship hull sonar system, and a main passive towed sonar system.

The Type 055 in the power system will use the latest domestic-made gas turbine, pushing forward the way towrds all-electric propulsion. In the future, the naval weaponry system will be constantly updated and the number will increase constantly. Only with powerful naval power systems can the Navy's future operational requirements be met. Such as the new concept of laser weapons, guns and other weapons in a short period of time need huge energy, which requires the intelligent allocation of the entire ship through the computer power, through the all-electric approach to achieve this change is a revolutionary Chinese Navy improvement.

Now that the PLA Navy has the Type 055 destroyer, its comprehensive combat capability will surely be greatly enhanced. Not only will the Navy's traditional anti-ship defense capabilities, anti-aircraft capabilities and anti-submarine capabilities be strengthened, but also its capability of attacking the mainland and the anti-missile capability. This is the succession and development of the existing "China Aegis" ship, which fully shows that Chinse large destroyer have gradually matured. The Type 055 destroyers are among the world's most powerful destroyers, the first Chinese Navy surface warship to displace more than 10,000 tons.

The Type 055 destroyer combat mission, compared with the previous Chinese naval destroyers which operated within the island chain or peformed limited break throughs of the island chain to perform combat tasks, should be located in the second island chain. Far at sea and even global strategic services, it can to defend the interests of Chinse waters and combat hostile sea, air and land-based weapons. At the same time, it is also the main surface warship that complements the aircraft carrier combat group, and shoulders very important tasks.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Navy, the Navy and China Post issued a series of commemorative covers, postcards, commemorative postal stamps, etc. The souvenir cover on the Type 055 destroyer is: the ship is about 180 meters long, the ship is about 23 meters wide, and the standard displacement is more than 11,000 tons. It is equipped with an advanced air-to-sea-to-submarine weapon system. From the introduction, the standard displacement of the Type 055 destroyer is about 11,000 tons, so its full-load displacement must exceed 12,000 tons, and it is likely to be close to 13,000 tons. It surpasses the South Korean "Sejong King" class destroyer and becomes the largest missile destroyer in Asia. It is a veritable "Asian First Ship". The introduction did not mention the ability to attack the land, indicating that the ship has not yet integrated the land-attack cruise missile into the vertical launch system.

China is running out of provincial capitals to name new destroyers, and it might have to turn to other big domestic cities, which reflects the country's rapid naval development in recent years. Chinese destroyers and frigates should be named after big and medium Chinese cities, according to the naval vessels naming regulation. This means naming of destroyers does not necessarily have to use provincial capitals, as it was a non-binding tradition. A few Chinese destroyers have been named after big cities other than provincial capitals, like the Shenzhen, a Type 051B destroyer.

At the maritime parade in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province in late April 2019 to celebrate the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's 70th anniversary, the PLA Navy confirmed that it has named its first Type 055 destroyer Nanchang, the capital city of East China's Jiangxi Province. One of the three other Type 055 destroyers will be named Lhasa, the capital of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. With other provincial capital names being used by other destroyers, the naming of the Nanchang and Lhasa left only Nanning and Taipei available.

As China runs out of provincial capitals to use, more examples like the Shenzhen and Qiqihar will be used. The naming issue reflects the rapid development of the PLA Navy in recent years. While new destroyers might have to use names of big cities other than provincial capitals, older destroyers that use provincial capital names might be decommissioned in the future and their names could be used again on newer ships.




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