The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has commissioned Lhasa, its second 10,000 ton-class Type 055 large destroyer.
Naming the ship after the capital of Tibet province, amidst human rights concerns there, has met with opposition from the exiled Tibetan community.
The destroyer recently made its first public appearance at a naval base in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province, CCTV reported. It was named after Lhasa, the Tibetan capital which was usurped by China in 1950. The warship could join the PLA Northern Theatre Command Navy.
In mid-2018, China had also conducted a poll asking voters what the newly acquired Type 055 guided-missile destroyers had to be named. The most popular answer was “Taipei,” the capital of Taiwan. Chinese future vessels could be named Tibet, Naning, Guangxi, Jianxi and Taipei.
The first Type 055 destroyer Nanchang was commissioned on January 12, 2020.
In August last year, the Chinese Navy launched its eighth Type 055 and 25th Type 052D destroyers at Dalian Shipyard, Liaoning Province. The remaining six Type 055s are being outfitted or are in sea trials. They are expected to be commissioned in about one to two years, according to the pattern of warship construction.
These warships are touted to be on par with world’s top destroyers including America’s Arleigh Burke-class and Zumwalt-class.
The PLA Navy 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 guided missile destroyer with 112 vertical launch missile cells capable of launching missiles such as surface-to-air, anti-ship, land-attack and anti-submarine missiles, according to media reports. There are plans of the destroyer being deployed for anti-ballistic missile operations.
According to a CCTV report published in October 2020, the Type 055 destroyer can also counter stealth aircraft and low-Earth orbit satellites, thanks to a dual-band radar system.