The Type 055 class, which is the successor to Type 052D guided-missile destroyers, is being built indigenously by Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) and Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC) for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
The Type 055 class destroyers can be deployed in long-range air defence, anti-surface warfare (ASuW), anti-air warfare (AAW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), electronic warfare (EW), land and maritime strike, escort, long-range patrol and surveillance missions.
The keel for the first Type 055 class destroyer, Nanchang, was laid in late-2014 and the launching ceremony was held at Jiangnan Shipyard in June 2017. The ship’s maiden trials began in August 2018. It was commissioned by the PLAN at the Qingdao naval base in January 2020.
While three additional destroyers are currently in various stages of construction, a total of eight Type 055 destroyers are expected to be inducted over the next four years.
Type 055 class destroyer design and features
Type 055 is a 10,000t-class guided-missile destroyer, integrating a stealth hull design. The ship features an integrated mast and sleek superstructure for reduced radar and infrared signatures. It retains the general layout of Type 052D destroyer but features a bigger and higher hull than its predecessor.
The new destroyers are designed to adopt modern air-air warfare, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapon systems to complement China’s future carrier strike groups.
The destroyer features an aft helicopter deck for supporting the operations of a single medium-sized rotorcraft such as Harbin Z-9 and Changhe Z-18 helicopters. It is also equipped with a stern hangar facility to accommodate up to two helicopters.
Type 055 has a length of 180m, an overall beam of 20m and a 6.6m hull draught. With a full load displacement of approximately 13,000t, the warship is heavier than the US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke class destroyers.
The forward and aft decks are installed with up to 128 vertical launching system (VLS) cells arranged in two silos of 64 each. The modular launchers can also accommodate new weapons, which are currently under development.
The destroyers are armed with YJ-18A anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) and YJ-100 long-range ASCMs, as well as HQ-10 short-range surface to air missiles (SAMs) and HHQ-9B long-range SAMs.
The main gun fitted on the bow deck is an H/PJ-38 130mm dual-purpose naval gun. Close-point defence against low-flying fixed / rotary-wing aircraft, boats and small craft, coastal targets and floating mines are provided by an H/PJ-11 30mm close-in weapon system (CIWS).
The anti-submarine warfare (ASW) is supported by Yu-8 anti-submarine rockets (ASROCs) and Yu-7 torpedoes launched from two triple torpedo tubes.
Type 055 class sensors and radars
The Type 055 destroyers are equipped with four Type 346B active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, L-band and X-band radars, a hull-mounted sonar, a towed array sonar (TAS) and a variable depth sonar (VDS).
The electronic warfare and active / passive countermeasures systems on board the ship include EW jammers, Type 726-4 decoy launchers, electronic support measures (ESM) system and electronic countermeasures (ECM) system.
Propulsion of Type 055 class destroyers
Type 055 class destroyers are powered by a combined gas turbine and gas turbine (COGAG) propulsion system, integrating four QC-280 gas turbines coupled to two propellers. Each gas turbine generates a maximum power output of 28MW.
The propulsion system enables the vessel to achieve a speed of more than 30k and a standard range of 5,000nmi at an average speed of 18k.