China's new 10,000-ton Type 055 guided-missile cruiser/destroyer entered the water at Shanghai's Jiangnan Shipyard during a launching ceremony on the morning of June 28, 2017. As China's new domestically-produced destroyer, it is equipped with latest air defense, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapon systems.
The Type 055 guided missile destroyer [cruiser] must be one of the most anticipated platforms in the Chinese Navy, apart from the aircraft carrier. By 2014 photographs of a radar test installation apparently associated with this programs had finally surfaced on the Chinese internet. It remained unclear whether the Type 055 would prove to be a 160-meter long DDG-57 counterpart or a 180-meter DDG-1000 counterpart, but as it turned out, the design is closer to the later than the former.
The launching ceremony of the first new guided-missile destroyer of the Chinese PLA Navy was held at Shanghai's Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) on the morning of June 28, 2017. It is a milestone in the PLA Navy's strategic transformation and development. Gen. Zhang Youxia, member of China's Central Military Commission (CMC) and head of the CMC Equipment Development Department, attended the ceremony and delivered a speech. The ceremony was kicked off at 9:00 and a bottle of champagne was broken on the bow deck as a customary way of blessing the new ship. Then, the destroyer was dragged onto the pontoon and entered water.
This new 10,000-ton-class guided-missile destroyer is independently developed and manufactured by China. A series of technical breakthroughs in overall vessel design, information integration and assembly has been made during the shipbuilding process. Equipped with new types of air defense, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapon systems, the new destroyer has strong capabilities of information detection, air and missile defense, and maritime target attacking.
Next, it is learned that the new guided-missile destroyer will carry out equipment debugging and sea trial as planned. Leaders from the PLA Navy, State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, Shanghai municipal government and China State Shipbuilding Corporation, as well as other military representatives and local officials, attended the ceremony.
In March 2016 Chinese media reported that the 175-meter-long vessel would be outfitted with four new types of missiles, including medium-range air defense and antisubmarine missiles, as well as long-range air defense missiles and supersonic long-range anti-ship missiles. The Type 055 destroyers would also brandish long-range land attack cruise missiles and a sea-based missile interceptor. It would have ninety-six vertical launching systems, meaning the ship would not only be able to carry more weapons, but also larger missiles.
In addition, the all-important phased array radars have been upgraded to include both X-band and S-band arrays – and thus may be on par with America's top air-defense ships. The radars deliver the ship's core competence. Like the Aegis-equipped destroyers that formed the model for its predecessors, Type 055's main mission is still certain to be fleet air defense, including for Beijing's carrier battle groups. The Type 055 guided missile destroyer's other missions would likely include missile defense and anti-satellite operations.
Since the Type 055 by its nature is the latest and best, why should China continue to build a large number of Type 052D? Some people do not understood building the 052D and 055 at the same time, causing people to talk about whether there is 052D and 055 dispute. someone from the perspective of efficiency would argue that the 055 is too expensive, and it would be better to continue more 052D. Others claim that the 052D out of date, and that China should immediately stop construction. The 052D performance does have a gap with 055, but it is mature mass production. All the equipment is proven, the main technical problems have been resolved, and now the factory worked pipeline-style, for a lot of construction. By 2016 the construction of the platform did not exceed 18 months, which has been greatly improved, and definitely the 055 cannot be compared.
The Type 055 is immature, with many pieces of equipment and technology that need to be verified. To immediately put into high-volume construction is impossible. The PLAN must take a small step, the first small amount of construction, until the main technology is resolved, into a lot of construction. For the new model of the ship, the duration of the pause is a normal phenomenon, in the face of major technical problems. The need to modify the design is common, as the result of service time is almost impossible to avoid. In the case of the US Navy, the construction of a new generation of DDG1000 destroyers, did not stop the construction of Burke-class. The situation is that the Type 055 cannot immediately be put into mass production, before it was fully mature.