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The Type 055: A Glimpse into the PLAN’s Developmental Trajectory

Sidharth Kaushal
RUSI Defence Systems, 19 October 2020
Adversarial Studies, China, Military Sciences, Maritime Forces
The Type 055 Renhai destroyer, which displaces 12,000 tonnes, represents a significant advance in People’s Liberation Army Navy blue-water surface combatant vessel capabilities, in terms of both size and complexity

The Type 055 is significantly larger than preceding vessels such as the Type 052D and incorporates a number of features that illustrate the progress being made by Chinese shipbuilders with regards to incorporating complex technology onto surface assets. Despite claims to the contrary, however, the Type 055 as currently constituted is not a game-changing asset. If previous Chinese shipbuilding experience is any guide, it represents the first step in a developmental sequence that could give China a new generation of qualitatively first-tier surface combatants. Moreover, the investment in the Type 055 offers important insights into Chinese perspectives on future warfare and attempts to maximise their fleet’s effectiveness in the future operating environment.

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Dr Sidharth Kaushal
Research Fellow, Sea Power

Sidharth Kaushal's research at RUSI covers the impact of technology on maritime doctrine in the 21st century and the role of sea... read more

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