China has the biggest navy in the world in terms of number of vessels.
The Type 055 is the biggest destroyer class in China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy.
Chinese media has touted the Type 055 as the second-most powerful in the world after the USS Zumwalt.
China currently has the world’s largest navy in terms of total number of vessels. The Type 055 is the biggest destroyer class in China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy.
China’s navy has 355 vessels, outnumbering the US navy’s 297 vessels.
China State Shipbuilding Corp began building its biggest vessel — the Type 055 — in 2014. The Type 055 destroyers have been in service since 2020.
The class of destroyers is also known as the Renhai-class cruiser. As a multi-role warship, it is equipped with weapons to counter missiles, ships, and submarines, according to the South China Morning Post.
Today, there are six of them in service, though the Chinese navy has said that it plans to expand the class to a fleet of 16 ships.
Several military experts told the Global Times, a state media outlet, that the destroyer’s role is to deter foreign intervention in case China conducts a military attack on Taiwan.
Chinese media has touted the ship as the second-most powerful destroyer in the world after the USS Zumwalt.
The Zumwalt is the largest destroyer in the world, with a displacement of 15,907 tons. The Type 055 is slightly lighter at 12,000-13,000 tons.
Unlike the American-made USS Zumwalt, which is focused on land attacks, the Type 055 is an amphibious assault ship, according to the SCMP.
And while the Zumwalt has since been called a “failed ship concept,” after being plagued with equipment issues, the Type 055 has been hailed “the world’s most powerful destroyer” by several military publications.
The Type 055 is the first destroyer in the world to test railgun technologies at sea, according to Military Watch Magazine.
There are six ships in the Type 055 class.
The first-ever ship in the class, the Nanchang (pennant number 101), was launched in June 2017 and commissioned in January 2020. Five more have since been deployed in active service: the Lhasa (102), Anshan (104), Wuxi (107), Dalian (105), and Yan’an (106), according to geopolitical publication Special Eurasia.
The ships are part of China’s Northern Theatre Command, which encompasses Mongolia, Russian Siberia, and Korea; and the Southern Theatre Command, which encompasses the South China Sea and Southeast Asia, per Special Eurasia.
The massive ships are powered by six turbine generators, per The Diplomat.
The ships use four gas turbines that generate a total of 150,000 horsepower. They have a cruising speed of 30 knots (56 kilometers per hour). The ships can accommodate over 300 crew on board.
Lhasa, the second ship in the class, was seen sailing as far as the Sea of Japan in June, according to Global Times.
The ships cost 6 billion Chinese yuan ($920 million) per unit, according to Military Watch Magazine, making it far less expensive than the USS Zumwalt.
One Zumwalt unit costs the US Navy $7 billion, according to Foreign Policy.
While the Type 055 is less expensive than its American counterpart, it costs more than other notable Chinese vessels. According to the SCMP, the Chinese Navy’s Type 054D, which was once its prized class of warships, cost half of the Type 055. The Type 055 represents a “major qualitative leap” for China in terms of developing top-notch surface combatants, according to a 2020 report by the US Naval War College.
Unlike the Zumwalt destroyers, the Type 055 has advanced stealth capabilities, according to Military Watch Magazine.
The Type 055 has dual band radar systems, the Type 346B Dragon Eye, that the US Navy had “failed to integrate” onto the Zumwalts, per the publication.
In addition to advanced radars, the Type 055 also has torpedoes, and it can carry two helicopters: the Harbin Z-9 and the Changhe Z-18.
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