To meet the threat of regional and Western aggression, and enforce its maritime claims in the South China Sea, the nation of China continues to expand its military capabilities across all service branches. This has resulted in a bevy of infantry weapons, armored vehicles and aircraft emerging from various arms makers and has also spread to include the naval service where aircraft carriers, attack submarines and advanced surface ships are further bringing the Asian power to the forefront. Moreover, China is developing these solutions through local means, over time severing its long-held reliance on sources such as Russia. The Type 055 guided-missile destroyer is an example of the growing power of the Chinese Navy - which now promotes its first active aircraft carrier in the "Liaoning" (detailed elsewhere on this site).
The Type 055 is said to be in the same warship class as the American "Arleigh Burke" series and is outfitted with the latest available sensor equipment, digital processing systems and radar / sonar. It is to be given a flexible armament suite to help counter most any incoming threat, be they in the air, on the sea or under it. What is currently know of the Type 055 design is that it will be in the 10,000 to 14,000 ton displacement range and hold a length of around 575 feet. Like newer warships in the West, the Type 055 will incorporate stealth into its design with the structure showcasing (based on artist's impressions) slab sides and angled surfaces. The main mast is to be wholly-enclosed and integrated as part of the bridge superstructure with a Vertical Launch System (VLS) set just ahead. A single turret deck gun will break up the profile of the forecastle. The smoke funnels will be given an inline arrangement as well as a low profile. A full-service hangar deck will be fitted at the aft section of the vessel and a flight deck will operate up to two navy helicopters for over-the-horizon work and submarine-hunting. In the gap created between the aft superstructure and forward superstructure will be located another VLS installation.
Beyond cruise missile and other surface-to-surface missile armament, the warship will be designed with a digitally-assisted Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs) and Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) systems. Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities will be had through a towed sonar system as well as a depth sonar unit while countermeasures (electronic and physical) also figure into the vessel's design for self-survival.
The first ship of the planned class is being built by the Jiangnan Shipyard Company with the optimistic commissioning date set for sometime in 2018. A second ship is said to have started construction by the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company.
December 2018 - It is believed that the first Type 055 cruiser began its sea trials period during 2018 with a likely commissioning date set for sometime in 2019.
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