China Launches Next-Generation Destroyers Expected to be Armed with Electromagnetic Railgun
(Source: Global Times; issued July 03, 2018)
China launched two more Type 055 large destroyers or cruisers on Tuesday, the 4th and 5th ships of this class, whose lead ship was only launched in April 2017 and is to begin sea trials in 2019. (Chinese internet photo)
Two of China's newest-generation guided missile destroyers - Type 055 - have been launched in Dalian, a coastal city of Northeast China's Liaoning Province, on Tuesday, marking China's fourth such launch of Type 055 destroyers.

Experts say the People's Liberation Army (PLA) needs to commission at least 10.

Type 055 is China's first home-grown 10,000-ton class missile destroyer, and the first and second ships of this type were launched by the Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard Group in June 2017 and April 2018. The two vessels launched on Tuesday were built by the Dalian Shipyard Group. Both shipyards are under the China State Shipbuilding Corporation.

"Launching four 10,000-ton class missile destroyers in about one year shows China's remarkable shipbuilding capability, and compared to other major naval powers, including the US, China's speed is the fastest," said Wang Yunfei, a military expert and a retired officer of the Chinese navy.

Type 055 has multiple roles to play in the future of the PLA Navy, including aircraft carrier escort, theater missile defense and sea-to-ground attack, Wang noted.

"According to the history of the PLA Navy, we normally need about 10 destroyers, and in the future, the Navy will be heavy and diversified, so it's possible to see more than 10 Type 055 join the PLA," he said.

The photos taken at the Dalian Shipyard on Tuesday, and uploaded by military enthusiasts on Weibo, showed that there is one more Type 055 under construction in a dock. Military experts believe that the first Type 055 will be formally delivered to the PLA Navy by the end of 2018.

"After the launching ceremony, the next step is sea trial, which normally takes one year, so the first one launched in June 2017 would likely be enlisted by the end of this year, if everything goes well," Wang told the Global Times.

The two ships launched on Tuesday might finish sea trials and be delivered to the PLA Navy by October next year, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Type 055 will also likely be armed with an electromagnetic railgun, Song said. "The Type 055 is the best fit for China's future electromagnetic gun, for the all-electric warship could meet the weapon's huge power supply demand."

Photos spread on the internet since January showed that a Type 072 III landing ship of the PLA Navy was equipped with a main gun that is suspected to be an experimental electromagnetic railgun, reported Science and Technology Daily in February.

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Two More Type 055 Destroyers Launched
(Source: China Daily; issued July 04, 2018)
China launched on Tuesday two Type 055 guided-missile destroyers, widely considered Asia's biggest and mightiest such combat ship, according to witnesses outside a shipyard in Dalian, Liaoning province.



Weapons enthusiasts published photos taken near Dalian Shipbuilding Industry, which has built two aircraft carriers, on internet military forums. They also described what they saw of the two giant ships' launches.

When ships are moved into the water, their construction is basically finished. It is regarded as the most important step before sea trials. Water started to be pumped into dry docks where the vessels were built around 7 am, before the docks' gates were opened, witnesses said.

Photos showed that there was a small launch ceremony at the shipyard with hundreds of workers standing in formation in front of the two Type 055s, each decorated with a huge national flag and ceremonial banners.

Then the ships were pushed into open waters by several tugboats, the photos showed.

The next steps usually are for engineers to test and fine-tune equipment already mounted on the ships and continue installing other devices. Then they will conduct mooring tests and sea trials before the ships are commissioned in the People's Liberation Army Navy.

Four Type 055s have now been launched, but none are yet commissioned. The first of the class was launched in late June 2017 at Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, the second in late April at the same shipyard.

Type 055 is China's newest generation of guided-missile destroyers. It has a displacement greater than 10,000 metric tons and will be equipped with new types of air defense, missile defense and anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons, according to the Navy.

It has 112 vertical launching cells (Emphasis added—Ed.) that can fire various kinds of missiles, including China's long-range land-attack cruise missile. Its firepower is thought to be twice that of the Type 052D, the largest and most powerful surface combatant commissioned in the PLA Navy.

While the Type 055 is classifed as a destroyer, outside China it would be considered a cruiser as its large size and heavy displacement are comparable to that of the United States' Ticonderoga class cruiser. Li Jie, a senior researcher for the PLA Navy, said the vessel displaces about 13,000 tons.

The latest version of the United States' Arleigh Burke class, the largest family of destroyers in the world, has a full displacement of 9,800 tons. South Korea's Sejong the Great class displaces 11,000 tons while Japan's Atago class displaces 10,000 tons.

Cao Weidong, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said that compared with other destroyers in the Navy, the Type 055 features stealth design, stronger strike prowess and higher information capacity and will tremendously boost the PLA Navy's long-range operational capability.

He also said such ships will greatly strengthen the country's carrier battle groups.

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China Launches Guided Missile Destroyers
(Source: China Daily; issued July 03, 2018)
China launched two Type 055 guided-missile destroyers on Tuesday morning, according to witnesses outside a shipyard in Dalian, Liaoning province.

Chinese naval enthusiasts published pictures taken near Dalian Shipbuilding Industry and accounts of the launch on online military forums.

Water started to be pumped into the dry docks where the next-generation destroyers were built around 7 am before the docks' gates were opened, witnesses said.

Pictures showed a small launch ceremony at the shipyard, with hundreds of workers standing in formation in front of the two destroyers, each decorated with a huge national flag, ceremonial banners and colorful streamers.

The warships were then pushed into open water by tugboats, pictures posted online show.

China has now launched four Type 055 vessels; the first in June last year. They have yet to begin sea trials.

The Type 055 has a full displacement of more than 10,000 metric tons and will be equipped with new types of air-defense, missile-defense, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons, according to the Chinese Navy.

It has 112 vertical launching cells capable of firing various kinds of missiles, including China's long-range, land-attack cruise missile. Its firepower is believed to be double that of the Type 052D guided-missile destroyer, currently China's largest and most powerful surface combatant in service.

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