The Chinese state-owned media recently revealed that the Navy’s Type 055 guided-missile destroyer has anti-stealth and anti-satellite capabilities in low-Earth orbit.
Anti-stealth capability is essential to countering potential threats from U.S. stealth warplanes such as F-35 and F-22 jets, and B-2 bombers, Chinese analysts said.
These capabilities are possessed by the warship due to a dual-band radar system. In July, China sailed a newer version of its Type 052D guided-missile destroyer equipped with new meter wave radar to detect stealth warplanes besides a longer helicopter deck to accommodate the ship-borne version of its Z-20 attack/utility helicopter.
“Some of the advanced radar systems produced by modern technologies can detect low-Earth orbit aircraft, which often circulate the Earth at an altitude of 300-500km,” Wang Ya'nan, a military expert, was quoted as saying by Global Times on Sunday.
High-performance radar systems can detect and track satellites. “This means, the radar can then guide weapons to attack the satellites,” Wang explained.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) plans to have a fleet of 8 Type 055 destroyers, its most powerful naval vessel till date. Displacing more than 10,000 tons, the Type 055 is a 180 meter-long, 20 meter-wide destroyer with 112 vertical launch missile cells capable of launching missiles such as surface-to-air, anti-ship, land-attack and anti-submarine missiles. There are plans of the destroyer being deployed for anti-ballistic missile operations, according to older Chinese media reports.
Given the large size of the Type 055, it would be naturally able to carry a type of air-defense missile capable of reaching targets in low-Earth orbit, Wang predicted, noting that the radar system used on the Type 055 can also transmit data via data chain to land-based air-defense forces which can launch anti-satellite missiles.
The PLA Navy is said to have launched its eighth Type 055 and 25th Type 052D destroyers at Dalian Shipyard, Liaoning Province in late August.
The U.S. Navy’s Aegis ships have anti-satellite capabilities. An SM-3 missile fired by USS Lake Erie guided-missile cruiser reportedly hit a crippled spy satellite in 2008.
“In wartime, if one side can suppress hostile satellites, it can neutralize a key part of a hostile intelligence source and gain an advantage for itself,” Wang said.