China shows off its new destroyer during massive display of naval power
- China celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army Navy in Qingdao Tuesday, showing off some new weapons systems.
- During the parade, which was shrouded in fog, mist and rain, the Chinese navy showed off the Nanchang, the first of the new generation of Type 055 destroyers.
- The new destroyers are the most heavily armed of China's surface combatants, with 112 universal vertical launch system cells capable of firing anti-air, anti-ship, anti-submarine, and land-attack missiles.
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China showed off a new naval weapon, the first of a new generation of hard-hitting destroyers, at a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army Navy on Tuesday.
During the celebratory maritime parade, the Nanchang (101), a 10,000-ton Type 055 stealth destroyer, sailed onto the scene, Reuters reported.The ship is armed with 112 vertical launch cells with the ability to fire HHQ-9 surface-to-air missiles, YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missiles, and CJ-10 land-attack cruise missiles. The main gun is a H/PJ-38 130 mm gun, but there are reports that this vessel could eventually be equipped with a railgun. The vessel uses X and S-band radars, allowing it to track stealthy objects of various sizes.
The destroyer, technically large enough to be classified as a cruiser, has a substantial payload capacity that trails the US Navy's Ticonderoga-class cruisers but exceeds the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, which only have 96 vertical launch cells. The ship's primary rival is said to be the Zumwalt-class destroyers, naval vessels that continue to suffer from a variety of developmental problems.
The Nanchang, which was launched in 2017, started sea trials last August, the China Daily reported. A Beijing-based military analyst, Wei Dongxu, told the Global Times that the public debut at the fleet review Tuesday indicates that the vessel is now combat ready.
While the Liaoning, a Soviet heavy aircraft-carrying crusier refitted to serve as China's first aircraft carrier, was present at the naval parade in Qingdao Tuesday, the first domestically-produced aircraft carrier, which just completed its fifth sea trials, remained at the shipyard in Dalian.
A total of 32 vessels and 39 aircraft participated in China's celebratory fleet review. Among the other vessels on display was an apparent modified version of China's Jin-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. China also showed off a new type of conventional submarine.
China's naval modernization is being watched carefully in Washington as the US shifts its focus from the counterinsurgency fight to potential high-end conflict. The Army, Navy, and Marines are all increasingly looking at the kind of anti-ship weaponry required to punch holes in China's fleet, a necessary capability as China's strengthens its military.
Chinese media declared the Type 055 destroyer a "symbol of [the] Chinese navy's development."