The People's Liberation Army Navy has recently commissioned its second Type 055 guided-missile destroyer and named it Lhasa, after the capital of the Tibet autonomous region.
Sources said the CNS Lhasa is part of the PLA Navy's North Sea Fleet and uses Qingdao, Shandong province, as its home port.
Developed and built by China State Shipbuilding Corp, the Type 055 is the country's newest class of guided-missile destroyer. According to sources, it has a displacement of more than 12,000 metric tons and is equipped with new types of air-defense, missile-defense, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons.
The vessel has 112 vertical launching cells capable of firing various kinds of missiles, including China's long-range land-attack cruise missile. Its firepower is believed to be double that of the Type 052D class of guided-missile destroyer, previously the PLA Navy's largest and most powerful surface combatant.
The Type 055 is often deemed a cruiser outside China as its large size and heavy displacement are comparable to that of the United States' Ticonderoga-class cruiser. Based on satellite images, Western analysts have estimated the Type 055 is around 180 meters long and 21 meters wide.
The first Type 055, CNS Nanchang, made its public debut at a sea parade in April 2019 that marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PLA Navy. It is also part of the North Sea Fleet.
The entry of the class into service marked a milestone in the PLA Navy's strategic transformation effort and will substantially improve the Navy's long-range operational capability as well as its carrier battle groups' combat strength, said Cui Yiliang, editor-in-chief of Modern Ships magazine.
At least eight Type 055s have been built at the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry shipyard in Liaoning province and the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, observers said.