China appears to be developing a new cruiser, potentially called the Type 055, which reportedly would displace approximately 10,000 tons and carry large numbers [about 128] of antiship cruise missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and land-attack cruise missiles as well as potentially laser and rail-gun weapons. The first 055 hull to begin construction in the 2015-2016 timeframe. The 055 CG is expected to replace PLAN Type 052D destroyer as China’s main combatant surface, with at probably twice as many missile launchers (128 vs. 64). The 055 CG will play a major part in China’s naval strategy starting with a projected entry into service of 2017-2020. Its large size, formidable armament and powerful sensors will match or exceed that any current U.S. or allied AEGIS warship in the Pacific.
It will become the principal escort for China’s future aircraft carrier battle group.
China appears to be building its first big cruisers. Although shipbuilders have yet to lay down the first ship of the class, a mockup suggests that China could be planning a cruiser of (by contemporary standards) very large proportions.
Some analysts have estimated the Type 055 at around 12,000 tons, and have suggested that it could carry up to 128 vertical launch cells. A cruiser of this size could threaten to strike into the deep interior with cruise missiles, or could control the airspace in order to protect a task force.
Researchers in China are trying to produce a railgun that can shoot slugs at 2.5km per second. At greater speeds the friction from air deforms the projectile’s aerodynamic profile, which can cause it to stray off course.
SOURCES- US congressional report, National Interest, Free Beacon, Economist magazine, Popular Science