Since its first appearance in the Shanghai shipyards 3 years ago, the new Chinese heavy destroyer Type 055 has fueled speculation. It must be said that the new Chinese class surprised many observers, by its size, its armament, and its concept of employment, breaking with the naval traditions of the PLA.
The first Type 055, the Nanchang, entered service two months ago, and participated in the naval parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Navy. 180m long, and weighing according to estimates between 11.000 and 13.500 tons, the building represents a profound change for the Chinese Navy, with its 112 vertical silos, carrying a mix of HHQ-9B long-range anti-aircraft missiles and HQ- 16B, YJ-18 anti-ship and cruise missiles. It also has a 130mm gun, a 10-missile HHQ-24 missile defense system, and a CIWS[efn_note]Close Incoming Weapon System[/efn_note], as well only anti-submarine torpedoes, and a hangar that can accommodate two Z9C or Ka-28 helicopters and drones. Thus equipped, the Type 055 yields only to the Ticonderoga cruisers of the US Navy and to the Russian Kirovs.
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