The Buzz

China's Lethal Type 055 Warship vs. America's Stealth Zumwalt-Class Destroyer: Who Wins?

On Oct. 15, 2016 in Baltimore on the U.S. East Coast, the U.S. Navy commissioned the guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt into service following a protracted and costly development.

Six hundred feet long and displacing 14,500 tons, Zumwalt — the first of three stealthy land-attack destroyers — is America’s largest surface combatant in generations.

But she’s not alone in her weight class. While the Americans were celebrating Zumwalt’s entry into service, on the other side of the world at a shipyard in Shanghai, the Chinese navy was hard at work on its own 14,000-ton-displacement surface warship.

The Type 055 just began major construction and probably won’t enter service before 2018. But when she does, she could be the biggest and most powerful surface warship in Asia.

It’s unclear exactly what the Type 055 will do, but indications are that she’ll function as the main air-defense escort for China’s new domestically-built aircraft carrier, currently under construction at Dalian in northern China.

Consider the Type 055’s superstructure facets, apparently meant to support radar emitters similar to the SPY-1 emitters that are part of the U.S. Navy’s Aegis air-defense system. U.S. Navy flattops never go anywhere without at least one Aegis-equipped cruiser and several Aegis destroyers as escorts. Zumwalt, notably, is the first new major American surface combatant class in 30 years not to have Aegis.

The Type 055 likely won’t be a direct competitor of Zumwalt. Rather than integrating Zumwalt and her two sisters into carrier battle groups, the U.S. Navy will probably deploy the giant destroyers on solo cruises near land in order to take advantage of the vessels’ radar-evading hull-form and their twin, 155-millimeter guns, which can fire projectiles a distance of at least 80 miles in order to support amphibious landings and special operations.

The Type 055 just began major construction and probably won’t enter service before 2018. But when she does, she could be the biggest and most powerful surface warship in Asia.

It’s unclear exactly what the Type 055 will do, but indications are that she’ll function as the main air-defense escort for China’s new domestically-built aircraft carrier, currently under construction at Dalian in northern China.

Consider the Type 055’s superstructure facets, apparently meant to support radar emitters similar to the SPY-1 emitters that are part of the U.S. Navy’s Aegis air-defense system. U.S. Navy flattops never go anywhere without at least one Aegis-equipped cruiser and several Aegis destroyers as escorts. Zumwalt, notably, is the first new major American surface combatant class in 30 years not to have Aegis.

The Type 055 likely won’t be a direct competitor of Zumwalt. Rather than integrating Zumwalt and her two sisters into carrier battle groups, the U.S. Navy will probably deploy the giant destroyers on solo cruises near land in order to take advantage of the vessels’ radar-evading hull-form and their twin, 155-millimeter guns, which can fire projectiles a distance of at least 80 miles in order to support amphibious landings and special operations.

The Type 055 just began major construction and probably won’t enter service before 2018. But when she does, she could be the biggest and most powerful surface warship in Asia.

It’s unclear exactly what the Type 055 will do, but indications are that she’ll function as the main air-defense escort for China’s new domestically-built aircraft carrier, currently under construction at Dalian in northern China.

Consider the Type 055’s superstructure facets, apparently meant to support radar emitters similar to the SPY-1 emitters that are part of the U.S. Navy’s Aegis air-defense system. U.S. Navy flattops never go anywhere without at least one Aegis-equipped cruiser and several Aegis destroyers as escorts. Zumwalt, notably, is the first new major American surface combatant class in 30 years not to have Aegis.

The Type 055 likely won’t be a direct competitor of Zumwalt. Rather than integrating Zumwalt and her two sisters into carrier battle groups, the U.S. Navy will probably deploy the giant destroyers on solo cruises near land in order to take advantage of the vessels’ radar-evading hull-form and their twin, 155-millimeter guns, which can fire projectiles a distance of at least 80 miles in order to support amphibious landings and special operations.

This first appeared in WarIsBoring here.

Image Credit: Creative Commons License/Flickr User - Asitimes.