China's domestically made 10,000-ton class missile destroyer Type 055 recently underwent a high-speed test run, leading Chinese naval experts to believe the vessel has completed most of its trials and will go through weapons system tests before entering service in half a year's time.
The Type 055 was recently photographed sailing through the sea at a fast speed at an undisclosed location, cctv.com reported on Tuesday.
Wang Yunfei, a naval expert and retired People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy officer, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the goal of this sea trial was to test the destroyer's high-speed sailing capability and the comprehensive coordination of its different systems.
"The Type 055 had previously tested its systems at a slower speed, but only in high speed can its overall performance be truly tested," Wang said.
The latest sea trial is already at a later stage of all of its sailing tests, Wang noted.
After conducting its first sea trial in August, the Type 055 was spotted on the sea several times, the cctv.com report said. The PLA Navy will soon have the first Type 055 in service, it said.
Wang said now that the warship has completed sailing-related tests, it still needs to conduct weapons and command system tests.
This process will take about half a year, after which the vessel will be delivered to the PLA Navy, Wang said.
China has already launched four Type 055s—two of them in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province and the other two in Shanghai.
Wang said that after gaining experience from the first batch of Type 055s, China will develop upgraded versions.
Considering China needs to have about six aircraft carriers and multiple amphibious assault ships in the future, China is looking to have at least 10 Type 055s to form battle groups and escort these vessels, Wang said.
The 180-meter-long, 20-meter-wide destroyer will be equipped with 112 vertical launch missile cells capable of launching a combination of surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship cruise missiles, land-attack cruise missiles and anti-submarine missiles, media reported.