What would you choose to wage war on the high seas? We have a few ideas.
Type 055-class guided missile destroyer:
The latest large surface ship to enter production, the Type 055 class guided missile destroyers are the latest to join the People’s Liberation Army Navy. A follow-on to the Type 052 class, the ships are larger and more capable than any other ship in the PLAN and likely stiff competition for the Ticonderoga-class cruisers.
The Type 055 class are 590 feet long, making them longer than the Ticonderogas, and are estimated to weigh approximately upwards of ten thousand tons. Like their American counterparts the Type 055 destroyers are likely meant as bodyguards for China’s fledgeling aircraft carrier fleet, with the ability to take on anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare roles as necessary.
One feature that pins the Type 055s to this list: a total 112 vertical launch silos, each of which could carry YJ-18A and YJ-100 anti-ship cruise missiles, land attack cruise missiles, or HQ-9B long range air defense missiles. The ships also embark HHQ-10 short-range surface to air missiles similar to the NATO Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) and H/PJ-11 close-in weapon systems similar to the American Phalanx.
China launched two Type 055s simultaneously in July 2018 , with a total of six under varying degrees of construction. China is believed to have a requirement for at least eight of the destroyers.
Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer:
Named after the famous destroyer commander, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are the most numerous large surface combatants. In many ways the Burke class was a successful shrinking down of the Ticonderoga classes’ sensors and armament (minus a five-inch gun and twenty-six vertical launch silos) into a smaller platform.
The first ship in class, Arleigh Burke, was laid down in 1988 and entered service in 1991. The class has been in almost continuous construction since, with a brief pause in the 2010s. The ships are 505 feet long and displace up to 7,900 tons, with older ships weighing more. Four LM2500 gas turbines drive the ships to speeds in excess of thirty knots.
The Burkes are each equipped with a single five-inch dual purpose gun, ninety-six vertical launch silos, the SPY-1 radar and Aegis Combat System, and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Beginning in the late 1990s, a helicopter basing capability was added with a two helicopter hangar. A third major revision to the platform, Flight III, will replace the SPY-1 radar with the new SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar. Like some ships in the Ticonderoga class, several Burkes are capable of the ballistic missile defense mission, engaging ballistic missiles with a combination of Aegis and the SM-3 interceptor.
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