Chinese ad unveils a ‘twin brother’ of the US destroyer Zumwalt

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New frigates and destroyers are making waves at the Jiangnan Shipyard, generating quite the buzz. Notably, some of these destroyers are being compared to the US Navy’s advanced Zumwalt class. The Chinese news resource, Sohu, even refers to one such destroyer as a “twin brother” of the American model. 

Photo credit: Sohu

According to Sohu, the Jiangnan Shipyard is developing two ships that bear a striking resemblance to the Zumwalt class. However, these vessels are still in the development phase and not yet part of the People’s Liberation Army Navy. Sohu specifies that these include a new type of frigate and a new type of destroyer. Let’s delve into the details of the new frigate first. 

Given Jiangnan Shipyard’s strict confidentiality norms, the designs showcased in their posters are likely meticulously thought out. The ships’ overall layout, specific roles, and configurations are assuredly based on detailed plans and comprehensive design blueprints. 

Photo credit: Sohu

In the latest promotional poster from Jiangnan Shipyard, it is clear that their new frigate is not especially large. In fact, it is quite a bit smaller than the Type 054A and Type 054B frigates. It seems these 3,000-ton patrol vessels are likely designed with the foreign trade market in mind.

The real eye-catcher is the new destroyer, which bears a striking resemblance to the US Zumwalt-class destroyer. For context, the Zumwalt class is a 15,000-ton, high-tech destroyer developed by the United States, with only three ships built for various reasons. 

While it’s true the Zumwalt class faced several issues during development, the limited number of ships built shouldn’t overshadow it. significance Many design elements, innovative concepts, and system layouts of the Zumwalt are indeed worth studying and could offer valuable insights for navies worldwide.

Photo credit: Sohu

In a recently released promotional poster by Jiangnan Shipyard, the new Chinese destroyer bears a striking resemblance to the U.S. Zumwalt-class destroyer in terms of design, general structure, and basic concept. They look like “twin brothers.” However, on closer inspection, significant differences are evident between the two vessels. For instance, the U.S. Zumwalt-class destroyer sports two 155 mm large-caliber guns at the bow, consuming almost all the space in that area, which is unlike the bow armament on the Chinese destroyer. 

It appears that the Chinese destroyer may be equipped with a new generation of 130 mm naval guns. Utilizing only one bow gun frees up the forward deck to accommodate a greater number of vertical launch units, distinctively setting it apart from the Zumwalt class.

Additionally, a large active phased array radar has been installed at the front of the bridge on China’s new destroyer. The development of these ships by Jiangnan Shipyard symbolizes the future direction of naval vessels. However, whether these ships will be constructed or commissioned into service remains uncertain, according to the Chinese resource Sohu. 

Photo credit: Sohu

The emergence of these new vessels showcases China’s strategic perspective, technical outlook, and strategic considerations in capital ship development. This is particularly important for the next generation of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, including the Type 055 Destroyer and the Type 054B Frigate. You’ll see these technologies and concepts gradually applied to enhance and evolve their naval capabilities.

Experts predict that once China wraps up the second batch of Type 055 destroyers, they will likely move on to developing Type 055B destroyers or another main destroyer category with a full-load displacement between 15,000 and 17,000 tons. 

From 2020 onwards, the primary destroyers’ plans of various nations have trended toward increased size and capability. Countries like the UK, Japan, India, South Korea, and the US have rolled out their own large-tonnage destroyer projects, such as the British Type 83 and the South Korean KDX III.

Photo credit: Sohu

Despite the United States developing only three Zumwalt-class destroyers for various reasons, these vessels stand at the forefront of design innovation and stealth technology. One notable feature is the fully enclosed transom, which integrates the entire superstructure above the waterline seamlessly. 

This design not only reduces radar reflectivity but also minimizes infrared detection from enemy surveillance. Additionally, the low-resistance wave-piercing characteristics of the Zumwalt-class’s tumblehome hull have become increasingly popular among other naval ships.


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