China’s Second Type 055 Destroyer Enters Service With PLA Navy

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently commissioned its second 10,000 ton-class Type 055 large destroyer after the first ship in its class entered service in early 2020, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) revealed on Sunday.

The commissioning of the Type 055 guided missile destroyers, considered some of the most powerful warships of PLA Navy, marks the strategic development transformation of the PLA Navy, and will enable the service to better safeguard China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and development interests, analysts said.

A Type 055 large destroyer named after Lhasa, the capital of Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, recently made its first public appearance at a naval base in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province, CCTV reported on Sunday.

This makes the Lhasa the second Type 055 destroyer that has entered service with the PLA Navy, CCTV said, noting that the first one is the Nanchang, which has the hull number 101 and was commissioned on January 12, 2020, also in Qingdao.

The Lhasa boasts the hull number 102, according to video footage released by Passion News, a media outlet under k618.cn, a news portal run by the  Chinese Communist Youth League Central Committee, which showed the interior of the Lhasa when Zheng Weiguo, deputy mayor of Lhasa, visited the ship in the namesake of the city on Tuesday.

Since the Lhasa made its debut in Qingdao, it is likely that the warship is affiliated with the PLA Northern Theater Command Navy, Shanghai-based news website eastday.com reported on Sunday.

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Chinese naval expert Li Jie told the Global Times that Type 055s are expected to accompany aircraft carriers and act as powerful escorts, or they can lead task group without a carrier and conduct a wide range of missions.

China now operates two aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and the Shandong, with the third under construction, so more Type 055 destroyers are needed to form carrier combat groups, analysts said. 

China launched eight Type 055 large destroyers as of the end of 2020, after the first ship was launched on June 28, 2017, eastday.com reported.

The remaining six Type 055s are being outfitted or are in sea trials. They are expected to be commissioned in about one to two years, according to the pattern of warship construction, analysts said.

With a displacement of more than 12,000 tons, the Type 055 is a guided missile destroyer about 180 meters long, 22 meters wide and has a whopping 112 vertical launch missile cells capable of launching a combination of surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, land-attack missiles and anti-submarine missiles, and the warship is also endowed with the capability to gain strong situational awareness, the eastday.com report said.

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