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First PLAN Type 055 Destroyer 'Nanchang' Started Sea Trials in China.

| 2018

Based on ship spotters images from China, it appears that the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or Chinese Navy) first Type 055 Destroyer 'Nanchang' (南昌, with hull number 101), sailed out for its first sea trials on 24 August, 2018. The vessel (first of the Renhai-class cruiser, its NATO designation and classification) was built at Jiangnan Changxing Shipbuilding and Heavy Industry Corporation (Jiangnan-Changxing) in Shanghai (a member of China State Shipbuilding Corporation CSSC).

First PLAN Type 055 Destroyer Nanchang Started Sea Trials in China PLAN's first Type 055 Destroyer 'Nanchang' (南昌, with hull number 101), sailed out for its first sea trials on 24 August, 2018

The Type 055 destroyers are the largest surface combatant currently being built in the world. The Type 055 Destroyer has a length of 180 meters, a beam of 20 meters and a draft of 6.6 meters for a full load displacement of 13,000t (compared to the US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruiser and the Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer both at 9,800 tons or the Royal Navy Type 45 at about 8,500 tons). Their official PLAN designation is "10,000-ton class destroyer." while the US Department of Defense have been calling them "cruisers" since 2017.

First ship of the class, 'Nanchang' was launched on June 28, 2017 at the Jiangnan Changxing Shipyard in Shanghai and the second one was launched in April this year at the same shipyard. Nanchang is expected to be transferred to the PLAN in 2019 provided builders and acceptance trials go smoothly.

In total, eight Type 055 destroyers (including Nanchang) are currently under construction or fitting out in China. In addition to the Jiangnan-Changxing shipyard, construction is also being carried out in Dalian at the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company ( DSIC), which is part of another Chinese state shipbuilding corporation, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). To date, another destroyer of this type has been completed in Shanghai (it was launched on April 28, 2018) and two more are being constructed at this shipyard. In Dalian, two Project 055 destroyers are at fitting out stage (both were launched simultaneously on July 3, 2018) and two more are under construction.

China launched simultaneously two Type 055 guided-missile destroyers at a Shipyard in Dalian on July, 3, 2018. China launched simultaneously two Type 055 guided-missile destroyers at a Shipyard in Dalian on July, 3, 2018.

Type 055 weapon systems
The current Type 055's weapons fit includes: The 130 mm H/PJ-38 main gun capable of firing several types of rounds including guided ones, the H/PJ-11 CIWS with a fire rate of 10,000 rd/min, the HQ-10 short-range missiles, decoy launchers and torpedoes. All other offensive and defensive missiles are found in the 112 silos of the universal VLS.

These silos are distributed in two places - 64x forward and 48x aft, just in front of the ship's double hangar. They are of the same model as those used on Type 052D, compatible with both hot and cold launch thanks to the Concentric Canister Launcher (CCL) concept.

Theoretically, all Chinese missiles which size does not exceed 9 meters in length and 0.85 meters in diameter can be launched from those VLS cells, provided that the combat system is compatible.

To date, the Chinese navy plans to equip its first few Type 055 with HQ-9B anti-aircraft missiles with a range of 200 km, YJ-18A anti-ship missiles, a new type of medium range anti-aircraft missile and land attack cruise missiles based on the YJ-18 family, ie, practically the same as those already found on Type 052D destroyers. It is also likely that the new anti-submarine missile Yu-8A is among the ship's arsenal.

U.S. Department of Defense Report
In the recent U.S. DoD "Annual report to congress on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2018", the Type 055 is mentioned with the following terms:
China also launched its first RENHAI-class (Type 055) CG in 2017, with commissioning expected by 2019. At least three additional units of this class are currently under construction. The RENHAI CG is a 10,000-ton design that can carry an array of long-range ASCMs and long-range SAMs, and will likely be able to launch ASBMs and LACMs once these weapons are available. The RENHAI CG will be China’s premiere  carrier escort for blue-water operations.

It is not clear yet which type of  "ASBM" (Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile) is exactly mentioned here, as they would have to be small enough to fit in the VLS of the ship. Such an ASBM has yet to surface (at least in open sources).

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