On April 23, a solemn ceremony was held at the naval base in Sanya (Hainan island), in China. Three major vessels were commissioned into the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) fleet. The destroyer “Dalian”, the landing helicopter dock (LHD) “Hainan” and the strategic nuclear submarine (SSBN) Changzheng-18 were placed on active service.
The commissioning ceremony was attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
The Global Times reported, citing Chinese experts, that it was the first time for the country’s top commander to commission three large main battle vessels at the same time. Over 70,000 tons combined commissioned on a single day.
The event coincided with the 72nd anniversary of the PLAN.
According to NavalNews, the Type 055 Destroyer with pennant number 105, is the third ship of the class and the second one commissioned this year.
The Type 055 destroyers are the largest surface combatant currently being built in the world with a length of 180 meters, a beam of 20 meters and a draft of 6.6 meters for a full load displacement of about 13,000t (compared to the US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruiser and the Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer both at 9,800 tons or the Royal Navy Type 45 at about 8,500 tons).
The current Type 055’s weapons fit includes:
- A 130 mm H/PJ-38 main gun
- 112 VLS silos
- A H/PJ-11 CIWS with a fire rate of 10,000 rd/min
- A HQ-10 short-range missiles
- Decoy launchers
The Type 075 LHD has a pennant number 31. It is the lead ship of the class. The vessel was launched in September 2019 and is the third in this class to be built by the Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai. During the last years, China launches one LHD every 6 months.
The Type 075 The project is aimed at increasing of the “vertical” amphibious assault capability, probably, taking into account the very mountainous East Coast of Taiwan.
Rumors spoke of “36,000 tons of displacement”, its “capacity of 28 helicopters”, “diesel engine with the 12,000 kW 16PC2-6B” and “four CIWS including two HQ-10 and two H/PJ-11”, the NavalNews reported.
The Type 094 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine Changzheng (Long March) 18 with pennant number 421 is likely the 6th or 7th submarine of the class in service with the PLAN.
The Type 094 is 135 meters long and is armed with 12 JL-2 SLBMs, each with an estimated range of 7,400 km.
The commissioning ceremony was broadcasted by CCTV. The report showed China’s speed in national defense science and technology development, highlighting China’s determination to manage the South China Sea.
Another specific feature revealed by the video of the commissioning ceremony was the highest level of military discipline in Chinese Navy. Nowadays, a rare army in the world has similar combat readiness and orderliness.