China built 10 missile cruisers in 48 months, packing 1,120 missiles

In just four years, the Chinese defense industry managed to build and launch ten advanced Type 055 missile cruisers. Each of these formidable ships boasts 112 anti-ship or anti-aircraft missiles, housed in vertical launch cells. 

Watch the first video of Chinese Type 055 destroyer 102 Lhasa
Photo credit: Wikipedia

To put this into perspective, China launched its first Type 055 missile cruiser in January 2020. By April 2023, China had already launched the eighth ship of this project. That’s an impressive average of 2-3 missile cruisers per year. 

What’s even more remarkable is that this rapid construction pace hasn’t slowed down the production of other ships. Take the Type 054 frigates, for example—these are being built simultaneously in two large shipyards located in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Detachment of Chinese destroyers carried out day and night firings - Type 055
Photo credit: Twitter

PLAAN’s versatile asset

China developed the Type 055, a class of guided missile cruisers, for the People’s Liberation Army Navy [PLAN]. It ranks among the largest and most advanced surface combatants in the world, reflecting China’s growing maritime capabilities and ambitions. Designers intended the Type 055 to perform a variety of roles, including air defense, anti-submarine warfare, and surface warfare, making it a versatile asset in the PLAN’s fleet.

The dimensions of the Type 055 are impressive, with a length of approximately 180 meters [590 feet], a beam of 20 meters [66 feet], and a draft of around 6.6 meters [22 feet]. These dimensions make the Type 055 significantly larger than many other contemporary destroyers and cruisers, providing ample space for advanced weaponry, sensors, and other systems. 

Watch the first video of Chinese Type 055 destroyer 102 Lhasa
Photo credit: Sputnik News

The propulsion system of the Type 055 is based on a combined gas and gas [COGAG] configuration. This system includes four QC-280 gas turbines, each producing 28 megawatts of power, allowing the ship to reach speeds of up to 30 knots. The COGAG setup ensures a balance between speed, efficiency, and operational range, making the Type 055 a formidable presence on the high seas.

Not just 112 VLSs

The Type 055 boasts a range of advanced technical characteristics. It features a modern, stealthy design with a smooth superstructure to reduce radar cross-section. The ship is equipped with an integrated mast that houses various sensors and communication systems, enhancing its situational awareness and electronic warfare capabilities. The vessel’s hull is designed for optimal hydrodynamic performance, contributing to its speed and maneuverability. 

Tsirkon or Tsircon or Zircon missile
Photo credit: Sputnik News

The electronic equipment on the Type 055 includes a sophisticated suite of sensors and systems. Key components include the Type 346B AESA radar for air and surface search. Type 055 alos includes the Type 518 L-band radar for long-range surveillance. The H/LJG-346A sonar system for anti-submarine warfare is part of equipment. The ship is also equipped with electronic warfare systems, including jammers and decoys, to protect against incoming threats. 

The armament of the Type 055 is extensive and diverse. The ship is equipped with a 130mm H/PJ-38 main gun for surface engagements, and it has 112 vertical launch system [VLS] cells capable of firing a variety of missiles, including HHQ-9 surface-to-air missiles, YJ-18 anti-ship missiles, and CJ-10 land-attack cruise missiles. Additionally, the Type 055 is armed with torpedo launchers, close-in weapon systems [CIWS] for point defense, and anti-submarine rockets, making it a well-rounded combat platform. 

China revealed its position on Russia

Beijing doesn't rule out a military scenario for Taiwan's accession to China
Photo credit: CNN

Spokesman Wu Qian of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Defense Ministry recently said, “The Chinese military is ready, alongside the Russian military, to uphold justice worldwide.” This means the US might have to face both China and Russia at the same time. Wu Qian highlighted that China’s military strength could match all of NATO’s conventional forces, sending a strong message to NATO countries. 

The timing of this statement is no accident, coinciding with Western plans to challenge the Russian Federation. “The PLA is ready to strengthen strategic ties with the Russian armed forces and work together to support international justice,” Wu Qian asserted. He continued: “The Chinese armed forces are prepared to collaborate with the Russian military to fully implement the important agreements reached by the leaders of both nations, enhance strategic communication and coordination, build mutual trust in military matters, and jointly execute the Global Security Initiative.” 

PLA personnel are ready to work with their Russian counterparts to defend international justice and fairness. They will do their best to ensure security both internationally and regionally.

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