China commissions new class of latest generation 10,000-tonne Guided-Missile destroyer: Asia’s most advanced and biggest post-WWII warship

Minister Zhang Youxia, the procurement chief of the Central Military Commission, presided over the first Type 055 “new generation” DDG’s christening on June 28, 2017, inaugurating a new epoch in Chinese naval power .The pennant number and name of the first Type 055 are currently undisclosed.
In addition, General Zhang Youxia, a member of China’s Central Military Commission and head of its Equipment Development Department, attended the ceremony. He was joined by leaders of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, or PLAN, as well as those from the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense at the ceremony.
The launch of the ship marks an important step towards China’s dream of having a strong and modern naval force, General Zhang Youxia, was quoted as saying at the launch ceremony.
Chinese media showed photos of the new ship covered in streamers and flags and flanked by rows of sailors.  The vessel will have to undergo planned testing before it is commissioned into use.
The launch has been hailed as “a milestone in the PLA Navy’s strategic transformation and development,” according to Chinese Ministry of Defense (MoD)
On June 28th, the first Type 055 “Renhai” guided missile destroyer (DDG) was launched in the Changxing Jiangnan Shipyards in Shanghai. Measuring about 180 meters long and over 20 meters wide, the Type 055 destroyer displaces about 12,000-14,000 tons at full load, which was last matched in Asia by the Japanese Tone heavy cruisers, built in 1937-38.
Currently, the Chinese Navy has seven other Type 055s under construction and under order, at both the Changxing Jiangnan and Dalian shipyards. The Type 055 has stealth features, including a fully enclosed deck, integrated mast, and stealth shaped superstructure to reduce its radar and infrared signature.
China’s naval build-up, and it’s increasingly assertive stance over disputed territory in the South  China, has unnerved its neighbours.
China claims almost all the South China Sea, believed to have huge deposits of oil and gas, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, and has been building up military facilities like runways on the islands it controls.  Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.
The Type 055 has four Type 346x AESA radars positioned around its bridge for detecting aircraft, missiles and ships in nearly a 1 million square kilometer area. Ahead of the superstructure is the multipurpose 130mm H/PJ-38 cannon.
The Type 055 is a modern, multi-purpose warship, with four enormous Type 346X AESA radars and an integrated mast containing intelligence equipment, electronic countermeasures, and fire control radars. The radars are positioned around the superstructure to provide 360 degree coverage up to 500-600km away.
The system can track several hundred targets including ballistic and cruise missile, satellites, aircraft, and warships. It may also have some level of anti-stealth capability. The Type 055’s extensive combat management center process onboard sensor inputs, and fuse data from other Chinese warships, aircraft and, unmanned systems to create a common battlefield picture.
There are a variety of weapons that can be launched from the Type 055’s modular VLS, which includes a YJ-18 antiship missile, an HQ-9 long range surface to air missile , and CJ-1000 land attack cruise missile.
In addition to its 130mm H/PJ-38 cannon and Type 1130 CIWS, the Type 055 DDG will have around 112-128 vertical launch system (VLS) cells. Each VLS can hold four smaller surface to air missile (SAM) like a DK-10 medium range SAM, or a single larger missile, such as a HHQ-9 long range SAM, CJ-10 land attack cruise missile, and YJ-18 anti-ship missile.
The modular nature of the large Chinese VLS means that the Type 055 in the future can be armed with weapons that are currently in development, like a hypersonic scramjet missile, two stage long range SAM, and HQ-19 anti-satellite/anti-ballistic missile.
The pace of construction of the Type 055 reflects China’s increasing confidence in its advanced naval shipbuilding industry, having recently built everything from aircraft carriers to nuclear submarines as part of the country’s rapid naval modernization program.
Looking at the assembled naval crew and shipyard worker ranks, one gets a sense of the sheer gigantic scale of the Type 055 destroyer, which matches the size of WWII heavy cruisers the 2017 US Defense Department report on China actually calls the Type 055 a “cruiser”.
Another unique feature is the Type 055’s stern hangar, which is large enough hold two Z-18 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters. The hangar’s also has enough space to give the Type 055 the ability to operate a range of vertical takeoff UAS. Its ASW capability is also enhanced by a forward bow mounted sonar, decoys/torpedo countermeasures, and variable depth and towed array sonars deployed from the stern.
The Type 055 may presumably be equipped with surface and underwater unmanned systems for missions including mine countermeasure, ASW and reconnaissance.
‘It is learnt that the new guided-missile destroyer will carry out equipment debugging and sea trial as planned,” the MoD noted. Following extensive sea and weapons trials, the lead ship of the new Type 055 class is expected to be commissioned in 2018 or 2019.
Military analysts said the Type 055 was in theory the world’s second most powerful destroyer.
In comparison to the massive Type 055, the Arleigh Burke Flight IIA DDG, the USN’s main surface combatant, displaces 9,800 tons and has 96 VLS cells. The Japanese Kongo and Atago DDGs respectively displace about 9,500-10,000 tons and also have 96 VLS.
The only comparable US and allied ships in size and armament are the Ticonderoga cruisers, which has a 9,600 ton displacement but 122 VLS cells, and the 11,000 tons South Korean Sejong the Great DDG, which has 128 VLS. All of those warships are equipped with the AEGIS combat system,which like the one on the Type 055, has four large radars, the AN-SPY-1, and sophisticated computerized command systems to operate its missiles against a range of air and sea threats.
As sources have reported earlier, China is building further ships of the class at a rapid pace, with another hull already put together at Jiangnan-Changxing shipyard. In addition, commercial satellite imagery and aerial photographs indicate that preparations are being made for two further ships to be built at the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company’s shipyard in northern China.
The second batch of Chinese Type 055 destroyers will likely feature railguns, starting in the 2020-2025 timeframe. A 32 megajoule railgun on the Type 055 destroyer would be able to launch a ten kilogram projectile over a 100 nautical miles, with the impact energy of medium artillery. Railgun ammunition can be guided, and programmed to explode over a target, destroying soft targets like parked aircraft and missile launchers.
Though the Type 055’s data fusion, networking and command functions would make it the command ship in taskforces with smaller destroyers, frigates and corvettes, Beijing apparently plans to make the Type 055 its primary surface warship for the 21st century. Including the eight initial Type 055 DDGs already planned, the PLAN could order up to 30 of the massive ships by mid-century.
The next model in the class, the Type 055A, is planned to be larger and even better armed. It will also have an Integrated Electric Propulsion System (IEPS). The IEPS would generate enough power to support directed energy weapons such as lasers, railguns and high powered microwave systems.
With its size far exceeding a standard destroyer, the launch of the Chinese-designed and built 055 was as significant as that of an aircraft carrier, affording the People’s Liberation Army Navy advanced sea capability and weaponry development, experts said.
The need to protect the country’s overseas interests and vital waterways used by oil tankers and cargo ships is expected to increase as the country’s ambitious belt and road trade initiative starts to take shape. But unlike the US Navy, which has a true global presence, PLA ships do not have many overseas ports for resupply, according to Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming.
But Macau-based military analyst Antony Wong Dong said the Type 055 had some “disappointing” design flaws. The relatively low positioning of its flat-array radar system would affect its range of detection, he said, while the use of light aluminium alloy in the upper decks would make it vulnerable to damage.
“Despite its very modern stealth shape, the damage control capability is a big concern,” Wong said. “The design follows the Chinese convention, probably due to a lack of experience in a combat situation.”
Beijing has also long nurtured resentment against Japan over its past invasion of China, and their dispute over a group of tiny, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea has at times threatened to break out into open confrontation.
India, meanwhile, shares a disputed border with China and has grown increasingly concerned over the Chinese navy’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean, facilitated in part by Beijing’s close alliance with New Delhi’s arch rival, Pakistan.

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