China’s Better New 055 Cruiser Causes US to Scrap its DDG-1000 PlanPosted: March 21, 2016
US media The National Interest gives a quite detailed description on China’s New Cruiser in its report on March 19 titled “Can China’s ‘Dreadnought’ Tip the Naval Balance?”
It begins the report by saying that in spite of US naval superiority in tonnage, huge network of bases and strong allies, “Beijing also has some reasons for confidence in this nascent rivalry.”
A decade ago, China developed its “Red Aegis” Type 052C destroyer with both phased array radars and vertical launch systems (VLS) and has now made and making 8-12 its improved verions Type 052D with radar 15% more capable than 052C. However, US attention is focused on the ominous “dreadnought” on the horizon, China’s Type 055 cruiser, which is currently in development.
As revealed by the Chinese magazine Shipborne Weaponry (舰载武器), published by a Zhengzhou institute of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), 055 cruiser will be 175 meters long, 21 meters wide with 11,500 tons fully loaded displacement and a draft of 6.5 meters.
In the past, China’s lacked powerful engines constrained the size of Type 052C and D destroyers. However, it has now indigenized Ukrainian GT25000 to develop its QC-280 gas turbine with electric drive propulsion with satisfactory speed, acoustic and efficiency improvement so that the large ship has a speed of 32 knots.
Due to the increase in size and displacement allow 055 cruiser has much greater fire power and weapon magazine. It has 96 vertical launchers, 32 more than 052D and allows missile longer than seven meters, the maximum length allowed in 052D. As a result, in addition to new-type medium-range air defense missile and new-type medium-range antisubmarine missile, it has missiles with longer range, including long-range land attack cruise missile, sea-based missile interceptor, new-type long-range air defense missile, new-type supersonic long-range anti-ship missile and even anti-satellite missile.
It has both S-band and X-band phased array radars and a fixed long-range warning radar to make its weapons effective.
The report believes that “Type 055’s main mission is still certain to be fleet air defense, including for Beijing’s nascent carrier battle groups.”
Due to 055’s superiority to DDG-1000, the US reduced the number of DDG-1000 it will make to 3. Even when the details of 055 destroyer has not been revealed in such details, I described US change in its plan about DGG-1000 in my book Space Era Strategy: The Way China Beats The U.S. as follows:
U.S. Adjusts Plans in Response to Chinese Weapon Development
Due to lack of funds, instead of creating its advanced weapons to force China to make efforts in respond to U.S. efforts, the U.S. has to watch what China has been developing over the past year and make corresponding amendments. The U.S. has adjusted four major plans on its equipment and technology including littoral combat ship, Virginia class nuclear submarine, DDG1000 destroyer and long-range attack bomber.
The original U.S. plan was to build 50 littoral combat ships, but has now reduced the number to 32 and its navy is discussing the type of warship to replace such warships. It wants the replacement warship to have air-defense missiles and small Aegis radar.
It previously wanted to use DDG1000 destroyer as its major warships but now only wants to build 3 of them.
DDG1000 is advanced mainly in its vertical launch system (VLS) and radar. However, when China’s first Type 052D was commissioned on March 21, 2014, its more details have been revealed to show its VLS is by no means inferior to DDG1000’s.
A launch tube in 052D’s VLS can launch and control 4 different kinds of missiles, including air-defense, anti-ship, anti-submarine and ship-to-ground missiles of different sizes. The maximum diameter of the missile is 850 mm, bigger than DDG1000’s MK41 VLS.
Unlike U.S. VLS that is only capable of hot launch or Russian VLS, cold launch, 052D’s VLS tubes are capable of both cold and hot launches of missiles and they also have CCL devices so that the smoke in hot launching of a missile is discharged through a concentric tube.
There are separate launch control electronic equipment for the control of each missile launched to simplify the procedures of control so that there are no longer the complicated control procedures of multi-layer transmission of information and orders.
The new type active phased array radar used on 052D now has a liquid cooling system instead of the air cooling system in Type 346 phased array radar on 052C that has a curved case to increase the area of contact for cooling. In the new radar, liquid goes through the antenna for cooling. As a liquid cooling system has bigger cooling capacity and the contact area is bigger in the antenna array, the new radar must have greater power and better-sustained performance.
Due to the above-mentioned advanced equipment and functions, a DDG1000 is better than 052D only in bigger displacement and 16 more launch tubes. However, China is designing 12,000-ton Type 055 destroyer bigger than DDG1000. When 055 is commissioned, DDG1000 will be inferior. Therefore the U.S. has to scrap its DDG1000 plan and suddenly decides to spend $18 billion to produce 10 Virginia class submarines in haste to deal with Chinese advanced destroyers.
Comments by Chan Kai Yee on The National Interest’s report, full text of which can be viewed at http://nationalinterest.org/feature/can-chinas-dreadnought-tip-the-naval-balance-15539?page=2