China’s 055 Destroyer Superior to US New Version of Arleigh BurkePosted: July 4, 2017
China’s Science and Technology Daily describes in its report “Our Type 055 destroyeris at a higher level of comparison with US Arleigh Burke Flight III” its interview with military commentator Wang Qiang on comparison between China’s recently launched new 10,000-ton class destroyer (which is regarded as Type 055 destroyer by Chinese general public) and US Flight III, a brand new version of US Arleigh Burke destroyer that USN signed a contract to build almost at the same time of the launch of China’s new destroyer.
Wang Qiang believes that China’s 055 is of a higher level than and US Arleigh Burke Flight III.
Arleigh Burke is a type 3 decades old without much room for further improvement while China’s 055 is designed for the coming three decades. It has the application of totally integrated electrical system in its design philosophy for the application of high kinetic energy weapons in our era.
When Arleigh Burke was designed 3 decades ago, such weapons were simply unheard of; therefore, it is very difficult to include such weapons in its configuration now.
China’s practice is improving the existing, designing the next, planning for the third and finding ideas for the fourth generations. It launched its first Type 052D destroyer with vertical launch system in August 2012, but now it stops building any new 052D except those in construction and begins to build 055 only. Though 055 is planned for 3 decades, China may develop a new type to replace it perhaps in one decade. That is China’s weapon development strategy. If the US does not put an end to its outdated practice of developing a type for more than 3 decades, it will lag far behind China in the future.
US magazine National Interest says in its report on US Arleigh Burke Flight III titled “US Building a New Better Arleigh Burke-class Missile Destroyer” that Flight III will use Raytheon’s new AN/SPY-6 Advanced Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) to replace the Arleigh Burke-class’ existing SPY-1 radar. The new radar is 30 times more powerful than the old one. However, there is not enough electric power for the new radar.
The article says, “As part of those changes, the ship will receive new 4MW Rolls Royce electrical generators in place of the traditional 3MW generators found on previous ships of the class. The Flight III configuration also replaces the ship’s air conditioners with much more powerful units.”
There have to be more powerful engines to drive the generators so that the warship’s capacity for supplies especially ammo will be reduced if the hulk remains unchanged. If the warship shall be equipped with high kinetic energy weapon, shortage of electric power will be a serious problem.
The new radar is inferior to that on China’s 052D as 052D’s radar has a radar array surface of 4.3-meter diameter. Flight III’s radar array surface though 0.6 meters greater than the old radar, has a diameter of only 4.2 meters. The radar array surface of 055’s radar is significantly larger than 052D’s so that it is much powerful than Flight III’s radar.
In addition, the transmission and receipt units of 055’s radar are made of the newest materials of gallium nitride while Flight III’s application of such new material still remains at the test proof stage. Moreover, 055’s advanced integrated mast facilitates efficient integrated radio frequency management, avoidance of electrical and magnetic incompatibility, reduction of radiation characteristic and better stealth function.
What is more important is that 055 has much greater fire power. It has two sets of 64-tube vertical launch system with a total of 128 tubes while Arleigh Burke has less than 100. Moreover, its tube may have a maximum diameter of 0.85 meters and length of 9 meters while Flight III’s tube has only a diameter of 0.63 meters.
From the above, you know that 055’s Aegis system has much more powerful anti-missile capabilities.
In the past, China has to catch up with the US. Now, the US has to catch up with China as China has begun to develop better weapons than the US. In other words, if the US wants to have better destroyers it has to develop new ones with reference to the functions and performance of China’s new destroyers. Improvement of old type won’t do.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Science and Technology Daily and National Interest’s reports. The former is in Chinese and I have given a summary translation of it in this post while full text of the latter can be viewed at http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/huntington-ingalls-will-soon-build-the-navys-first-flight-21358