The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has commissioned its first Type 055 guided-missile destroyer, Nanchang (101) during a ceremony at the Qingdao Naval Base in eastern China’s Shandong Province on Jan. 12.
Nanchang was launched at the Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard near Shanghai in June 2017 and the vessel started its maiden sea trials on Aug. 24, 2018. The destroyer made its public debut at the multinational naval parade in celebration of the PLA Navy’s 70th founding anniversary on April 23 last year.
The commission of Nanchang marks the Navy’s leap from the third generation to the fourth generation of destroyers, according to a Navy statement.
The Type 055 guided-missile destroyers (NATO/OSD Renhai-class cruiser) are the newest class of destroyers being developed for the PLA Navy Surface Force.
They are the successors of the smaller Type 052D (NATO reporting name: Luyang III class, Kunming class) guided-missile destroyers that currently form the backbone of the PLAN fleet. China is still producing Type 052D destroyers.
At 180 meters long and displacing over 10,000 tons, Type 055 destroyers are longer and heavier than the U.S. Navy’s Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers and is more comparable to the former than the latter.
The vessels are powered by four 28 MW QC-280 gas turbines in combined gas and gas (COGAG) arrangement with additional power that may be provided by six 5 MW QD-50 gas turbines. The maximum speed of the class is estimated to be 30 knots.
The destroyers are equipped with a 112-cell Vertical Launching System (VLS) – 64 cells forward and 48 cells aft -capable of being armed with new types of air-defense, missile-defense, anti-ship, and anti-submarine weapons. It will be also equipped with long-range, land-attack cruise missiles (LACMs).
The firepower of Type 055 is double that of the Type 052D destroyer, currently China’s largest and most powerful surface combatant in service.
The first Type 055 destroyer, Nanchang, was launched at the Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard near Shanghai in June 2017 and the second one was launched in April 2018. The third and the fourth destroyers were launched simultaneously on July 3, 2018. The fifth destroyer was launched earlier last year and the sixth destroyer was launched on December 26 last year.