The official Global Times (June 4) publicised that the new Type-055 Destroyer, the 'Nanchang' (Hull No: 101) took part in the recent International Fleet Review at Qingdao. It said the warship will join the PLAN's North Sea Fleet. Quoting the Xi'an-based periodical on the national defense industry 'Ordnance Industry Science Technology', it said the 'Nanchong' has eight eight-unit vertical launch systems (VLS) in the front deck and six eight-unit VLS in the middle, a total of 112 VLS units, the most among Chinese destroyers. These VLS units use the latest standard design of the PLA Navy, giving them both hot launch and cold launch abilities. It explained that hot launch means a missile ignites in its cell, and a cold launch means a missile is ejected from the launch cell before it ignites. Missiles armed within the VLS units include air defense missiles, anti-ship missiles and anti-submarine missiles, according to the report. Some say that the ship may also have land-attack missiles. 'Ordnance Industry Science Technology' said the destroyer is expected to be installed with missiles including HHQ-9B long-range air defense missiles and HQ-16B mid-range air defense missiles. It could also be equipped with a type of mid-close-range surface-to-air missile developed from the DK-10 missile. For warship-to-warship combat, the Type 055 could be equipped with YJ-18 anti-ship missiles. It added that although anti-submarine assault is not the Type 055's main mission objective, it is likely equipped with Y-8 anti-submarine missiles and torpedoes. The warship is also equipped with an advanced sonar system and can carry medium-to large-sized anti-submarine helicopters on board.   'Ordnance Industry Science Technology' pointed out that the helicopters; missiles and torpedoes could form a three-layer defense web against even advanced nuclear-powered submarines. The main gun of the warship, the magazine said, seems to be an improved version of the 130 millimetre single-barrelled H/PJ45A-130-1, which could be found on the Type 052D. This gun can shoot 40 shells a minute, and a normal shell can travel 30 kilometres, while a rocket-propelled guided shell could hit targets even farther and more accurately. The ship is also equipped with a Type 1130 close-in weapon system that can shoot tens of thousands of bullets per minute to neutralize incoming missiles. It also has a 24-unit HHQ-10 close-range anti-missile system that can effectively intercept supersonic anti-ship missiles. Retired PLA Major General and Chinese defence expert was quoted as saying 'Xu Guangyu, a senior consultant at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association 'with such strong firepower, the Type 055 can either serve as a powerful escort to an aircraft carrier, or lead a flotilla sailing across the globe.' A Chinese military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times that the Type 055 is also equipped with very advanced radar and electronic control systems, which allow it to make the best of these weapons. Military observers say that the Type 055 might see variants in the future that could carry China's futuristic electromagnetic rail gun, which can shoot hypersonic projectiles at Mach 7 and it might also upgrade its arsenal to serve as an antiballistic missile platform.

(Comment:  i) More Type 055s destroyers are being manufactured. A second one was launched in April 2018 in Shanghai, while the third and fourth ones were launched in July 2018 in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province. More are expected to come.
ii) The lengthy description of armaments aboard the Nanchong appears to be because of the current tense relations between China and the US. It is to publicise China's preparedness for any eventuality.)

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