The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s Type 055 10,000 ton-class large destroyers will likely participate in far sea escort missions, experts said June 14th, after reports came out confirming that one of the eight powerful warships recently conducted a mock mission for the evacuation of Chinese nationals in a foreign country in conflict.
Feng Bowen, the executive officer of the Type 055 large destroyer Dalian, recently became qualified for his role after completing a comprehensive training test for five days and four nights, in which he led the ship joining up with two other warships at sea, fighting a mock battle with complete elements and complex scenarios, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.
Set in an imaginary scenario in which a military conflict broke out in a certain country, the test required the Dalian to dock in that country’s harbor to evacuate Chinese nationals and provide international aid, the report said.
It indicated that Type 055 large destroyers could join far sea escort missions, a Beijing-based military expert told the Global Times on Wednesday.
The PLA Navy has carried out evacuations of Chinese nationals on several occasions, including in April this year, when a Type 052D destroyer and a Type 903 comprehensive supply ship evacuated Chinese personnel from Sudan. In 2015, two Type 054A frigates and a Type 903 comprehensive supply ship evacuated Chinese personnel from Yemen.
The vessels deployed in such missions were from the PLA Navy escort task forces sent to the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia.
“We have gone from the Type 054A frigate to the Type 052D destroyer, and now the Type 055 large destroyer is practicing escort-related capabilities. It showed the PLA Navy’s rapid development over the past decade, and demonstrates that the PLA Navy is becoming increasingly capable of safeguarding China’s overseas interests,” the expert said.
By hosting far sea escort missions, the PLA Navy also provides public security goods to the international community, showing that it is a force that contributes to peace and stability, the expert said.
In addition to the evacuation mission, the test included a trial of the Dalian’s combat capabilities in terms of air defense and naval combat, as the training center dispatched other warships, early warning aircraft, fighter jets and submarines to hold mock combat with the Type 055, CCTV reported.
“During the combat deployment at sea, the vessel faced multidimensional threats on the sea surface, in the sky and underwater. We had to remain on alert at all times to hone our core combat capabilities,” Feng said.
The PLA Navy currently has eight Type 055 large destroyers in active service.