Most recently, the whole world discussed the launch of the main Chinese universal amphibious assault ship type 075, which, we recall, carried out on September 25, 2019. And at the end of the year, they talked about the adoption of the new Chinese aircraft carrier project 001A, or Shandong. And now the people of the Celestial Empire have a new reason to be proud, and we have a new topic for discussion.
On January 12, 2020, the first destroyer of the Nanchang project 055 was commissioned at the naval base of the Northern Navy of the People’s Republic of China (SLA) located in the city of Tsingtao (east of China). Recall that this ship began to build in 2014, and launched on June 28, 2017.
From the outside, the event may seem insignificant. And really, what can the Chinese fleet give one destroyer? Especially against the background of such giants as Liaoning or Shandong. In fact, the answer lies in the details, although in this case, it will not be difficult to see them.
The fact is that The Nanchang has become the largest non-aircraft warship of the Chinese fleet: in its size, it is second only to the aforementioned aircraft carriers Shandong and Liaoning, UDC type 075 and helicopter carriers of the type “Tsingchenshan” (or project 071). It is worth recalling that on June 6 last year, the Chinese launched the eighth such ship: indeed, a zeal worthy of respect.
Another example can be given. The (complete) us missile cruiser Ticonderoga is 9,800 tons. In turn, the displacement of the new Chinese destroyer is about 13,000 tons at the length of the ship about 180 meters. In other words, the Chinese destroyer is a bigger (or at least) American cruiser.
The Chinese were not always “sick” of the giant manta: the previous type of destroyers of the Celestial Empire, 052D, had a displacement of 7,500 tons. The 052C-class destroyers, the first of which was commissioned in 2004, have a displacement of 6,600 tons respectively. The main part of the large Chinese ships are the frigates of Project 054, which have been commissioned by more than 30 since 2005. Depending on the version, the ship has a displacement (full) of 3900-4500 tons. The frigate is 134 meters long.
However, the size (and, accordingly, the potential) of the destroyer project 055 is worth little. It would be appropriate to recall the American “Samvolt” – the most powerful destroyer in the world. Which, however, due to the incredible cost built a series of three ships and will not return to the project. As you may have guessed, the Chinese have a different situation: today, in addition to Nanchang, five such ships have already been launched.
As The Diplomat reported in 2018, the NOC fleet wants to receive eight destroyers of Project 055, but it is possible that this is only the beginning. Experts of the organization GlobalSecurity.org with reference to the military expert Gu Huoping (Gu Huoping) write that the number of destroyers type 055 can reach 16. This is, of course, less than the number of Thionderoge (27 ships) built-in all-time and much less than the number of American-built destroyers “Arleigh Burke” (67!). However, the old “Tikonderogs” began to be actively written off in 2004, and “Arleigh Burke” is still significantly smaller than the destroyer project 055.
All this again makes no sense to consider outside the context of the ship’s combat potential, which we probably learn little about because of the “glorious” Chinese tradition. Undoubtedly, the basis of weapons is universal vertical launchers (OVPs) with 112 cells for missiles of various purposes. 64 cells of transport and launch containers are placed in front of the add-on, another 48 cells are located in the center of the add-on, in front of the hangar. The comparison with the Tikonderogas may not be entirely appropriate, but the cruiser, as we know, has 122 OVP cells for Tomahawks cruise missiles and SM-1 anti-aircraft missiles.
Detailed classification of the armament of the Chinese destroyer is difficult due to the lack of confirmed data. But according to English-language sources, universal launchers can be used for the following types of missiles:
– anti-aircraft missiles HH-9 (possibly DK-10A);
YJ-18 anti-ship missiles;
CJ-10 long-range cruise missiles;
The range of the YJ-18 anti-ship missile can reach 540 kilometers, according to experts. The range of the CJ-10 (at least in its terrestrial version) is estimated at about 2,000 kilometers. In addition, the ship carries one 130-millimeter H/PJ-38 artillery system, one 30-millimeter H/PJ-11 anti-aircraft artillery system, and HH-10 (24 cell) anti-aircraft guided missiles. The ship is also capable of carrying two medium-sized military transport helicopters Changhe z-18.
According to previously announced information, the power plant of the destroyer project 055 is built around the COGAG system, which is based on four gas turbine engines of 38,000 horsepower each. The total capacity is more than 150,000 horsepower. In addition, there are six gas turbine generators on board. The destroyer is expected to reach 30 knots (55 kilometers per hour) at the speed of the destroyer. The crew of the ship is more than 300 people.
Britain used the principle of “equality of fleet of British fleets of the two strongest maritime powers combined” in its best years. America is no longer in danger of implementing something like this. Last May, Popular Mechanics magazine reported that China has more warships than the United States. The Chinese Navy was able to reach the number of 300 ships – 13 more than that of the U.S. Navy.
And in December 2019, Chinese shipbuilders set a kind of world record: they built and launched nine destroyers for their fleet in 2019. In total, in 2019, Chinese shipyards launched 23 surface ships in the interests of the Chinese Navy, including rather large combat units.
And yet there is a spoonful of tar. In November 2019, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a source in the Chinese Defense Ministry, that the program of construction of Chinese aircraft carriers will be frozen, and China will have four such ships. This is similar to misinformation, but it should be said that the “full-fledged” aircraft carriers the Chinese have not yet learned: there are no launch catapults, no deck fighter-invisible. No much experience. But there are problems with nuclear submarines…
And what about the destroyers of Project 055? By themselves, they are not a serious enemy for the U.S. Navy: the main tactical unit after World War II are aircraft carriers. Thus, the destroyer is seen in the context of the regional strengthening of the Chinese fleet, and not at all the “killer of American aircraft carriers”, as once majestic (and, most surprisingly, continue to magnify) the cruiser project 1144 “Orlan”.