With the successful completion of a full course acceptance test, the massive Type 055 Wuxi destroyer of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has achieved operational capability, becoming the fourth combat-ready 10,000-ton class destroyer of the PLA’s North Sea Fleet. Experts said on Monday that having more Type 055 ships at the PLA’s disposal means greater capabilities in the far seas.
The Type 055 Wuxi large destroyer recently completed a three-day full acceptance test in the Yellow Sea, hosted by a ship training center affiliated with the PLA Northern Theater Command Navy. The test covered training topics such as comprehensive air defense, missile defense, maritime attack, and anti-submarine actions in a complex electromagnetic environment.
For the test, the Wuxi set sail from the naval port of Qingdao in the Shandong Province of eastern China despite thick fog and a force-8 wind.
The warship destroyed simulated sea targets with consecutive live-fire firing from the main gun, intercepted incoming simulated air targets with its melee weapons system, and fired multiple jamming rounds while conducting evasive maneuvers.
The next test involved a Wuxi Z-9 helicopter being dispatched to rescue a fictitious fishing vessel in danger.
According to CCTV, the ship training center had other forces, including surface ships, submarines, and combat planes, engage or support Wuxi during the test to demonstrate Wuxi’s ability to handle various problems while under attack from numerous directions.
According to the CCTV report, the Wuxi test included a destroyer of Type 052D and a nuclear-powered attack submarine of Type 09III.
The test focused on the warship’s future missions, environments, and adversaries and effectively tested the ship’s sustained combat capabilities and sailors’ quick reactions in dealing with emergencies, Li Guoqiang said, chief of staff for the ship training center, in the report.
“In the test, we insisted on pursuing a [high] standard of combat capability with the aim of forming new-type combat capabilities as quickly as possible,” Li said.
Passing the test means that the Wuxi has reached operational capability, just one year after it was commissioned in March 2022.
According to observers, it also indicates that the four large Type 055 destroyers currently delivered to the PLA’s Northern Theater Command Navy, or North Sea Fleet, are now combat-ready.
With more Type 055s reaching operational capability, these ships can rotate through training, offshore exercises, and maintenance, making sure one or more ships are on call for any emergency, a military expert told the Global Times.
The North Sea Fleet’s mission is to protect China’s northern maritime borders from the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, and Beijing, the country’s capital.
According to media reports, North Sea Fleet warships of Type 055 have joined aircraft carrier groups, exercised in the Sea of Japan and Bering Sea, and patrolled the Pacific Ocean east of Japan since the commissioning of the first Type 055, the Nanchang, in January 2020. According to the expert, Wuxi is also expected to take over those functions.
According to reports, China has built eight large Type 055 destroyers, of which four are in service with the North Sea Fleet and three with the South Sea Fleet, and the commissioning of the last hull is pending an official announcement.