KEY POINTS

  • Guided-missile destroyer Lhasa was commissioned to the North Sea Fleet last March
  • The recent drill saw Lhasa involved in attacks on maritime targets with missiles
  • Lhasa is the second Type 055 vessel owned by PLA, the first being Nanchang

China's new advanced warship, guided-missile destroyer Lhasa, is reportedly combat-ready. The Type 055 warship was seen engaging in drills in the Yellow Sea last week.

Lhasa, considered the largest and second-most powerful destroyer, is expected to be assigned to the PLA's significant missions later this year, reported South China Morning Post.

Last week, the PLA Northern Theater Command Navy arranged for the Type 055 destroyer Lhasa to take part in drills to test its operational capabilities. This involved attacks on maritime targets with missiles and artillery, search and attack submarines, and defending itself against nuclear, biological, and chemical weapon attacks.

The exercise also had the destroyer testing radar detection of a target in undisclosed waters and simulating firing to destroy it.

"We will take advantage of scientific and technological methods to explore new ways of training, and set new examples in training with science and tech," Captain Li Guoqiang, chief of staff at the vessel training center, was quoted by Chinese-state backed Global Times.

Named after the Tibetan capital, Lhasa was commissioned to the North Sea Fleet last March. At present, the vessel is the largest surface combatant, 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.

It is considered the second-most powerful destroyer after the US Navy’s DDG-1000, or Zumwalt-class stealth ship. According to the report, while Zumwalt is focused on land attacks, Type 055 is more of a multi-role warship. 

Lhasa reportedly has 112 vertical launch missile cells, boats of balanced air defense, anti-missile, anti-ship, and anti-submarine weapons.

This is the second Type 055 destroyer owned by the People's Liberation Army (PLA). The first is Nanchang, which became operational two years ago on Jan. 12, 2020.

Nanchang was recently seen taking part in a joint drill with Russia in the Sea of Japan as part of the Liaoning aircraft carrier group.

Besides Nanchang and Lhasa, the PLA also has two more Type 055 destroyers -- the Dalian and Anshan. While the Dalian joined service on April 23, 2021, reports said Anshan entered service in November 2021. There has been no official confirmation yet. 

China is reportedly on a warship-building spree as part of modernizing and expanding its naval force. Besides carriers to corvettes, PLA Navy is reportedly set to launch its third aircraft carrier, the work of which is progressing steadily at the Jiangnan Shipyard. 

One of China's Type 052D guided missile destroyers is taking part in the naval drills with Russia and Iran Representation. A Chinese warship taking part in the naval drill. Photo: POOL / Mark Schiefelbein