Type 055 destroyer: Symbol of Chinese Navy's development
Updated 08:20, 21-Apr-2019
Yin Xiaoyang
Editor's note: Yin Xiaoyang is a research fellow of POLY defense research center in China. The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
In the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, people have been longing to see the debut of the latest 10,000-ton Type 055 destroyer with operational capability in combat formation. There are a very few naval forces so far in the 21st century that have developed warship in such great size firepower and number.
The design of Type 055 has been finalized after two decades of rapid development and tests. As the first rate of capital ships for the PLA surface fleet and carrier group over the next 20 years, the warships are dedicated to sustaining the interest and enforcing the strategy of China in West Pacific and the open sea.
While the PLA Navy still attaches great importance to win a traditional maritime conflict, Type 055 is focused on surface combats as one of the most powerful vessels in the world.
And there are several aspects highlighting the importance of the Type 055 destroyer. The propulsive power is estimated generated by four gas turbines in a combined gas turbine and gas turbine arrangement. It is China's first main combatant ship that facilitates with full gas turbine-power.
Besides, the primary armament are missiles carried in 112 universal vertical launch cells (VLS), representing the highest load of the missile of Chinese combatant ships. The universal cells allow simultaneous operations against multi-mission threats. By report, a diversity of missile types is accepted, including surface-to-air, anti-ship cruise, anti-submarine rocket and land-attack cruise.
And the electronics and sensor system of Type 055 has completely detached from the Russian-origin subsystems. The common air search, fire control and over-the-horizon targeting radar in previous classes are replaced by indigenous R&D electronics and integrated mast.
The deckhouse incorporates four active electronically scanned array (AESA) panels and Multifunction Integrated Radio Frequency Systems (MFIRFS). This system integrates a manifold of functions— such as radar, communications and electronics into a common electronic superstructure.
Two Type 055 guided-missile destroyers take water at a shipyard in Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province, July 3, 2018. /VCG Photo

Two Type 055 guided-missile destroyers take water at a shipyard in Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province, July 3, 2018. /VCG Photo

What's more, for a vessel, larger displacement means higher endurance and self-sufficiency. With displacement at the 10,000-ton-level, Type 055 destroyer enables longer voyages than any other destroyers. Also, the sea keeping ability of the warships strengthened by their large displacement can help overcome harsher sea states with weapons and helicopter on board in operation.
The enlarged cabins allow carrying more armament and electronics, leading to a comprehensive functionality and improved crew habitability. All these advantages brought by large displacement vessels like Type 055 pave the way of Chinese Navy toward the ocean.
In the 1970s, China initiated the development of R&D Type 055 destroyers, which was then suspended due to a shortage of funds and technologies. Since then, Type 055 has been seen as the symbol that Chinese naval and defense technology would catch up with and surpass the world levels one day. During the past twenty years, the shipbuilding and defense industry of China has developed substantially.
Thanks to the employment of modular construction and pre-fabrication (i.e. prefabricated "blocks" built at different shipyards at the same time), Type 055 is the capital ship of the highest building speed in the world.
In the past, China typically employed the process of prototyping, test, modification and small-batch production for building destroyers and frigates. In contrast, Type 055 is built in batch production in Dalian and Shanghai simultaneously, which reflects China's tremendous strength in shipbuilding.
It is assured that in this naval parade, the world will witness that the ready-to-serve Type 055 destroyers have surpassed their 1970s ancestor in all aspects. Also, we will see Type 055 become the most powerful, effective and efficient combatant ships in the world for the next two decades.
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