Take a look at world biggest destroyers: The USS Zumwalt VS The Type 055 of China
The Type 055 and the USS Zumwalt. Sun Zifa/China News Service/U.S. Navy/General Dynamics Bath Iron Works/Getty Images
Wed, June 22, 2022, 3:32 PM
China has the world's largest navy in terms of total number of vessels. The Type 055 is the biggest destroyer class in China's People's Liberation Army Navy.
The Nanchang (101) destroyer.Sun Zifa/China News Service/Getty Images
China's navy has 355 vessels, outnumbering the US Navy's 297 vessels.
China State Shipbuilding Corp. began building its biggest vessel — the Type 055 — in 2014. The Type 055 destroyers have been in service since 2020.
The class of destroyers is also known as Renhai-class cruisers. As a multirole warship, it's equipped with weapons to counter missiles, ships, and submarines, according to the South China Morning Post.
Today, there are six of them in service, though the Chinese navy has said it plans to expand the class to a fleet of 16 ships.
Several military experts told the Global Times, a Chinese state media outlet, that the destroyer's role was to deter foreign intervention in case China conducted a military attack on Taiwan.
The Zumwalt is the largest destroyer in the world, with a displacement of 15,995 metric tons. The Type 055 is slightly lighter at 12,000 to 13,000 metric tons.
Unlike the American-made USS Zumwalt, which is focused on land attacks, the Type 055 is an amphibious assault ship, according to the SCMP.
And while the Zumwalt has been called a "failed ship concept" after being plagued with equipment issues, the Type 055 has been hailed "the world's most powerful destroyer" by several military publications.
The Type 055 is the first destroyer to test railgun technologies at sea, Military Watch reported.
The first ship in the class, the Nanchang (pennant number 101), was launched in June 2017 and commissioned in January 2020. Five more have since been deployed in active service: the Lhasa (102), Anshan (104), Wuxi (107), Dalian (105), and Yan'an (106), according to the geopolitical publication SpecialEurasia.
The ships are part of China's Northern Theater Command, which encompasses Mongolia, Russian Siberia, and Korea, as well as the Southern Theater Command, which encompasses the South China Sea and Southeast Asia, according to SpecialEurasia.
The ships use four gas turbines that generate a total of 150,000 horsepower. They have a cruising speed of 30 knots, or 56 kph. The ships can accommodate over 300 crew on board.
Lhasa, the second ship in the class, was seen sailing as far as the Sea of Japan in June, Global Times reported.
One Zumwalt unit costs the US Navy $7 billion, according to Foreign Policy.
While the Type 055 is less expensive than its American counterpart, it costs more than other notable Chinese vessels. According to the SCMP, the Chinese navy's Type 054D, which was once its prized class of warships, cost half the price of Type 055 vessels. The Type 055 represents a "major qualitative leap" for China in terms of developing top-notch surface combatants, a 2020 report by the US Naval War College said.
The Type 055 has dual-band radar systems, the Type 346B Dragon Eye, which the US Navy "failed to integrate" in the Zumwalts, Military Watch said.
In addition to advanced radars, the Type 055 has torpedoes and can carry two helicopters: the Harbin Z-9 and the Changhe Z-18.
Take a look at China's biggest destroyer, a $920 million cruiser that's said to be the 2nd most powerful in the world after the USS Zumwalt
The warships, which are also known as Renhai-class cruisers, are the most advanced warships China has ever made.