Who’s The Copycat Now? – U.S. Next Generation Destroyer DDG(X) Looks Very Much Like China’s Type 055

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Jan 19 2022
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About 20 years ago, Chinese warships were a joke, far behind the Western and Russian – both quantity and quality. Not only their ships were smaller in size, but they were only equipped with short range missiles. Worse, in the 20 years between 1990 and 2010, only 10 destroyers were launched from Chinese shipyards, out of which only two were Aegis-type – the 052C class.


Aegis – the shield of the Greek God Zeus – Combat System was already being developed in the 1970s in the U.S. The integrated naval weapons system was subsequently installed in the U.S. Navy’s Ticonderoga Class cruisers in the 1980s. The AEGIS system allowed Ticonderago to track and engage many targets more effectively than any previous U.S. Navy warship.


Not only the U.S. did not consider China as a threat at all, the Americans laughed at the Chinese Navy’s inferior system, which was decades out of date. Beginning 2000s, however, modern Chinese ships started to emerge. From Type-052C Luyang-II Class destroyer, the first Chinese warship with area air defence capability, it was succeeded by Type-052D Luyang-III model (known as the Chinese Aegis).

China Type-055 Destroyer - Renhai Class

Unlike the American Aegis’s pride AN/SPY-1, the multi-function three-dimensional “passive” electronically dimensional scanned array radar or PESA, the Chinese Aegis has Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESA). In just 8 years between 2010 and 2018, 24 destroyers were launched from Chinese shipyards, consisting of four 052Cs and sixteen 052Ds.


Today, China has 29 destroyers of both Type-052C (6 ships) and Type-052D (23 ships). But both types were soon overshadowed by the newest Type-055 Renhai-Class destroyer. The Type 055 is such a massive warship that the U.S. categorized it as a cruiser. At 13,000 tonnes, it is almost twice the full load of its predecessor Type-052D (7,500 tonnes).


In fact, the Chinese Type 055 is one-third larger than the U.S. Navy’s Ticonderoga Class cruisers (9,800 tonnes) in terms of displacement. China has already built eight Type 055 destroyers, which is a class of stealth guided missile destroyers. Three of this Type 055 is operational (Nanchang, Lhasa and Dalian), with 8 ships already in the water, and China plans to build a total 16.

China Type 055 Destroyer - NATO code-name Renhai

The Type 055 destroyers, costing 6 billion Yuan (US$950 million) a pop, are engineered and designed for multi-mission operations, including land-attack, open water maritime warfare, and anti-submarine missions. It is equipped with sonar systems that can locate hostile submarines, as well as rocket-propelled torpedoes, or anti-submarine missiles that can strike targets.


It is equipped with 112 vertical launch missile cells capable of launching a combination of surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, land-attack missiles and anti-submarine missiles. The Type 055 is so advanced that analysts think it not only could rival the U.S. Navy’s emerging Arleigh Burke-class DDG 51 Flight III destroyers, but also Zumwalt-class warships.


The Chinese biggest and most advanced warship, which will play its role as a “powerful escort” to aircraft carriers in battle groups, could also be useful to blockade Taiwan in an event of a war in the region. The Type-055 is also essential in China’s deep blue-water strategy, which requires large warships (such as Type-055 destroyers), aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships.

US DDG-X - Next Generation Destroyer Design

China Type-055 Destroyer - Renhai Class - Design

Surprisingly, when the U.S. unveiled its New Generation Destroyer – DDG(X) – design this month as part of the U.S. Navy program to replace its 22 Ticonderoga Class cruisers and older versions of its Arleigh Burke destroyers, it immediately raised eyebrows. The U.S.’ new futuristic warship, supposedly capable of deploying hypersonic missiles and laser weapons, looks like a copy of Type-055.


Some Chinese netizens mocked and laughed at the U.S., saying that America’s next-generation destroyer DDG(X) directly copies China’s current Type-055 destroyer. If indeed the U.S. had taken the short-cut of copying the Chinese warship, it would mark a reversal of China’s long-standing practice of allegedly copying everything from the U.S. – ranging from smartphone to fighter jets.


In the past, China’s high-tech weapons have been ridiculed as copy versions through espionage. For example, J-20 was said to be a mere copy of F-22 Raptor, while Shenyang FC-31 (known as J-31) looked like the F-35 stealth fighter jet. The design of Chinese UAV CH-4 also resembles that of MQ-9 Reaper drones, and Y-20 military transport aircraft was copied from C-17 Globemaster III.

China Military - Shenyang J-31 and Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II

However, the U.S. used to copy from other countries too. For instance, the Lockheed Martin’s F-35B jet’s so-called unique vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) ability actually incorporates technology from the Soviet-era Yak-38 (which was introduced in 1976) and Yak-141 carrier-launched fighters (introduced in 1987).


Some of the similarities between the Chinese Type-055 and the U.S. Navy’s next-generation missile destroyer, which was revealed at the Surface Navy Association (SNA) National Symposium in Arlington, Virginia, include the shape of its hull, a clipper bow with a bulbous protrusion, and forecastle, as well as the shape of its mast and superstructure.


The U.S. Navy said that the DDG(X), estimated to start construction in 2028, will trade the traditional gas-turbine propulsion system for one like the Integrated Power System found on the Zumwalt class guided missile destroyers. Shockingly, the new ship will have just 32 Mk-41 vertical launch system (VLS), compares to Arleigh Burke’s 96 Mk-41 VLS cells and Type-055’s 112 VLS tubes.

USS Ross - Arleigh Burke-Class Guided-Missile Destroyer

China may not have the number or the size of aircraft carriers as the United States, for now. But the balance shifts dramatically when the low-profile escort vessels are taken into account simply because aircraft carriers are not the only source of military power. Stealthy destroyers and missiles can defeat a larger aircraft carrier being escorted by old cruiser, such as a 40-year-old Ticonderoga.


The best part is, even the U.S. does not know the full capability of the Type-055. Some said the Chinese vessels are fitted with 20-megawatt generators capable of powering high-energy weapons such as lasers and electromagnetic rail guns. As China builds more Type-055 at insane speed, the U.S. is stuck on the drawing board after an earlier replacement program – the USS Zumwalt class – was abandoned due to excessive costs.


Even as the DDG(X) was revealed to be a copy of Type-055, it appears the design is rather sketchy because no information about the dimensions of the U.S. next-generation destroyer was disclosed, such as its length and water displacement. Could its length just a fraction of Type-055’s 180-metre, hence it could only fit 32 Mk-41 vertical launch system (VLS)?

United States USS Zumwalt Destroyer – 7.5 Billion US Dollar A Ship


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Talk about copy cat, you may have read about the hoo-haa in the US regarding their “5G” roll out; the tiff between the US telecoms and US airlines. On closer read, the US telecoms are rolling out “C-band 5G”. What in the world is that, and what’s the diff with the usual “5G” that 40+ countries are already hooked on?

It’s just science. These ships use the best shapes and dimensions to be stealthy and they end up looking almost the same. This cannot be avoided unless the science is different. So it’s a question of who did it first. The latter one became the copycat unfortunately.

It’s that sinking feeling for the Yanks where China has got to with its navy. It looks entirely like they have sailed past, more so, sped past the Yanks with not just those lovely new toys but the ability to build many new vessels what feels like every other week!

Paired up with what’s been happening in its airforce, it is said but for just a few areas to catch up with, China is making really great progress on this front too, it won’t be long at all China makes quality aircrafts in quantities like they make dumplings.

Would make a great sight if a little fleet of them Chinese warships sail by the Strait of Malacca, what a wonderful pageant that would be, and what a massive panic that would cause! I vote Ketuanan Cina does that at least once before they dig a canal across Thailand and turn Malaysian ports back to the jungles to make the environmentalists happy. Bolehland politicians would delight at the cuts they would get if only they get to buy those big toys to defend us from Singapore. It would make a whopping kickback what little our politicians made from those famous unsinkable submarines we would have to convert pretty soon into rusty disco karaoke joints.

Among much scientific and technological achievements made in their naval vessels, the one I like best is quite a few of their crafts are specially designed to do ramming.

Chinese warships (and coastguard vessels) are designed to ram and even sink others so that any heavy action does not need to be made with exploding weapons. That’s why you see videos of those panicky Yank warships desperately dodging Chinese warships that looked like the crews were trained by Bolehland drivers. The crafty reason for the use of ramming is it does not look offensive like firing guns or missiles and inviting retaliation that starts a war. Even though ramming can cause an enemy’s vessel to sink. But that would only be an accident, and the victim an enemy vessel incapable of “kissing” – which would be all Yank vessels, really… The new Yank warships are nearly all failed experiments.

Even before the Chinese can ram them the origami Zumwalts are already rusting to death. And yes, there’s grave suspicion the Chinese have radars able to pick up the stealthy flops, hence the speed the Yanks dropped the “advanced designed” firetraps. For our armchair admirals there’s always been difficulties welding the two different main metals used in the Zumwalts.

What’s not just the amazing warships of the Chinese are their equally amazing torpedoes, underwater drones, sensors, sonars, etc etc. I would, or the Yanks should, worry about them. And I’m not even talking missiles, aircraft catapult systems, multi-barreled Gatlings, anti-aircraft systems, and, of course, those railguns. The Chinese advances in those are amazing – and scary! And waiting to be tested on those antique Yank gunboats.

What really happened to that Yank submarine that supposedly hit an underwater “mountain” in charted, rather shallow waters? More than likely it hit something the Chinese have put there and waiting for the Yanks – or something the Chinese have deliberately hit the sub with – and devastating enough to decommission it, hmmm… Was quite a sight the super-duper Yank pride dragged away probably to be either have a lousy cheapo patch up – or die a complete write-off.

Can’t wait for some real action from the Yanks and/or their allies against the Chinese toys, what are those for if not for some real action, if not a decent war? For a few years now the Yanks and assorted chancers have been doing the kacau kacau sailing up and down China’s islands and coasts, and always around our region. A decent battle or two at least would hopefully determine for our region, destined to be the mightiest trading bloc in the world, whether Hisha’s big bro is going to be Bolehland’s grandpa or we are to pivot to the neo-con ideals of Anwar’s massahs.

Physically speaking, any radar can detect any stealth vessel depending on the range. The problem arises when a fishing boat sized ship suddenly fires dozens of anti-ship missiles. And the Zumwalt looks like a better design for ramming ships, the entire structure looks like a 183m long knife.

I think the Chinese hacked a shipbuilder and obtained the DDG(X) design and was just faster to bring it to fruition.

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