China's growing global interests have resulted in a growing naval capability with heavy investment being given to a carrier fleet, advanced ballistic missile nuclear-powered attack submarines, and all-modern classes of guided-missile destroyers. In 2020, the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) commissioned the first of a planned eight Renhai-class (also "Type 055") guided-missile destroyers with its lead-ship becoming CNS Nanchang (101). Three additional units are expected to follow in 2020 with the remainder to come online in 2021 and 2022 to complete the class.
CNS Nanchang (101) adds a wholly modern Blue Water capability for the PLAN, showcasing an array of weaponry paired with advanced sensors and processing systems. Like other warships of this type, Nanchang can operate independently of the fleet or as a support vessel to it - giving it inherent tactical and strategic flexibility.
As designed, the warship is consistent with Western destroyer offerings: stealth is at the center of the appearance with slab-siding used throughout as well as a minimization of protrusions. The forecastle is home to a single turreted deck gun backed by a Vertical Launching System (VLS) housing missiles. The bridge is on a raised, stepped section of hull which also contains the enclosed, all-important mast. At midships is the integrated, low-profile structures of the smoke funnels. The rear of the ship consists of an enclosed full-service hangar space, attached helipad, and additional weaponry and sensors. The hull side is chined from bow to stern resulting in an unbroken hull line.
Nanchang displaces in the 13,000 ton range and carries a crew of about 300 personnel. The primary radar fit is the Type 346B (C/S-band) radar system. A complete Electronic Warfare (EW) system provides at-range, stand-off protection from a myriad of conventional and unconventional threats to the ship. Additionally, two helicopters can be carried (of the medium utility/medium-lift variety) for Search and Rescue (SAR), anti-ship, and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) sorties. Typical supported rotary-wing types include the Harbin Z-9 and Changhe Z-18 models (both detailed elsewhere on this site).
The propulsion scheme employs a COGAG (COmbined Gas-And-Gas) arrangement involving 4 x QC-280 gas turbines developing 38,000 horsepower each, driving a pair of propeller shafts astern and leading the vessel to speeds of 30 knots. Range is a useful 5,000 nautical miles as the ship can cruise or make high-speed dashes as necessary - all the while conserving precious fuel in the efficient arrangement.
In terms of armament, Nanchang does not disappoint: the suite includes 1 x 130mm H/PJ-38 turreted deck gun over the forecastle, the aforementioned VLS containing 112 cells for HHQ-9 Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs), YJ-18 cruise missiles, and/or CJ-10 cruise missiles, 1 x HQ-10 short-ranged 24-cell SAM system (over the rear hull structure), 2 x 324mm twin torpedo launch tubes, and 1 x H/PJ-11 Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs). This gives the warship an inherent capability to engage distant and close aerial targets, seaborne threats, and undersea marauders.
Structurally, CNS Nanchang (101) has a running length of 590.6 feet, a beam of 65.6 feet, and a draught of 21.7 feet. Displacement is around 13,000 tons under full load. Because of its armament scheme, displacement, and dimensions, the Nanchang compares in some sources to a cruiser despite its destroyer classification. At any rate, it is a multi-mission vessel that will add decades of value to the PLAN.
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