Chinese navy may launch eighth Type 055 stealth destroyer later this year
- Vessel is being painted at a shipyard in Dalian, indicating it is close to being launched, according to reports
- But experts say it could take up to five years for all the destroyers designed for China’s aircraft carrier strike groups to be combat-ready
The vessel will complete the first group of Type 055 destroyers, but naval experts said it could take up to five years for all the warships to be combat-ready – normally a few years after they enter service – because of their advanced design.
The destroyer is being painted at a shipyard in Dalian where a contractor carries out much of China’s naval shipbuilding, indicating it is close to being launched, according to the reports posted on Weibo and WeChat.
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The stealth destroyer can fire surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship cruise missiles, land-attack cruise missiles and missile-launched anti-submarine torpedoes.
However, Lu Li-Shih, a former instructor at Taiwan’s Naval Academy in Kaohsiung, said problems that could cause electromagnetic interference would need to be overcome, adding that the destroyers would play a role as air defence command centres.
“Unlike other destroyers equipped with complicated antenna devices on the masts, the Type 055 has the advanced enclosed integrated mast, which allows it to communicate with other platforms,” Lu said. “But that means more time is needed for them to go through complicated and comprehensive tests before they can join the navy.”
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The reports did not confirm which ships had the powerful generators, but a military source close to the navy said they included the eighth Type 055 and some of its sister ships. The units will quadruple the power-generating capacity on the warships, making full electric propulsion possible.
Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie said a decision had yet to be made on whether a second group of Type 055s would be developed because the new destroyers would first have to be tested and operated for some years.