China's Type 055 Warship Larger, More Powerful Than Expected
(Source: Global Times; issued Feb 01, 2020)
Chinese media have claimed that the PLA Navy's latest warship, the Type 055 destroyer, actually displaces 12,000 tonnes, and not 10,000 tonnes as previously indicated, and so is about twice as large as its predecessor, the Type 052D, which displaces about 7,000 tonnes. (Chinese MoD photo)
It has emerged that China's most advanced destroyer, the 10,000-ton-class Type 055, is larger than previously reported as the Chinese Navy recently revealed it has an actual displacement of more than 12,000 tons. Experts said on Friday that the difference between 10,000 and 12,000 tons could be huge and indicate the warship is even more powerful than expected.

In an introduction video for Nanchang, the first ship of its type, released by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy during the Spring Festival holidays, the service confirmed the ship has a displacement of more than 12,000 tons.

The warship was previously only vaguely referred to as China's first 10,000-ton-class destroyer, without information of its exact displacement.

"This has debunked some analysts' estimations that the Type 055's displacement is only a little more than 10,000 tons, and indicates the ship type could be even more powerful than expected," a military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Friday.

The 12,000-ton figure could refer to standard or normal displacement, so full displacement could potentially reach 13,000 tons, the expert estimated, noting that the Type 052D, a previous classification of Chinese destroyer, has an approximate displacement of just 6,000 to 7,000 tons.

Displacement is an important indicator of a warship's combat capability in multiple aspects including firepower and its ability to sail in high seas, as a larger displacement results in higher stability, more fuel and ammunition, analysts said.

The PLA Navy video also revealed that Nanchang marks China's achievement of a globally advanced level in terms of surface vessel propulsion technology, and that the warship's speed is of the top class.

It did not reveal details of the ship's propulsion system or the ship's top speed.

Analysts predict the Type 055 has variants that will use full electric propulsion in the future, which could enable more optimized power distribution and realize the usage of high-energy weapons like lasers.

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