A Department of Defense report suggests that the Chinese Navy, formally known as the PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy), may put anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs) on its new cruisers. These are the weapons dubbed ‘Aircraft Carrier Killers’ because of their massive hitting power. It would be the first time any navy has put this category of weapon on a warship. Chinese Navy cruisers would then be arguably the most heavily armed surface combatants in the world.
The 2020 China Military Power Report to Congress says that the new Type-055 Renhai Class cruiser “will likely be able to launch ASBMs and LACMs once these weapons are available”. LACMs refers to land-attack cruise missiles. The report comes in both classified and unclassified forms. In the unclassified version we are not presented with the evidence behind the assertion. But it would be a logical development, and would set Chinese warships apart from all others in the world.
The first Renhai Class cruiser was only commissioned in January of this year. But already the 8th ship has been launched on August 30.
At over 10,000 tons the Renhai Class cruisers are already impressive warships. They are equipped with very large phased-array radars similar to the U.S. Navy’s AEGIS system. The Chinese system is actually newer in terms of some key technologies. It uses AESA (active electronically scanned arrays) while the SPY-1 on American ships uses PESA (passive electronically scanned array). Data is not available on the performances and combat effectiveness of the overall systems however.
And they are armed with 112 launch cells for missiles, called a VLS (vertical launch system). This is more than the U.S. Navy's Arleigh Burke-class destroyers but fewer than the Ticonderoga-class cruisers. It should also be noted that smaller missiles can be multi-loaded on the U.S. warships. (end of excerpt)
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