Doesn't look like a poor design. However, since the whole point of 051B/C was to prove whether old steam turbines could mate with modern warships, I wonder if steam turbines alone without electric motors would be enough to power the AESA phased array radars like the 346 series, whilst still allowing the ship to maintain a speed of 30 knots.What if China's indigenous radar sets and UVLS for the 052C and 052D weren't ready in time, and China needs a 055 badly?
Here's how the hypothetical "181 destroyer", based on the extension and upgrade of the 051C, would've looked like had it been commissioned into the PLAN. All the following pictures are CG-illustreated by @大包CG on Weibo.
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When put side-by-side with the real 055:
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Truth-to-be-told, the hypothetical "181 destroyer", fabricated by a Chinese netizen in the 2000s and "popularized" among Chinese military fan circles, encapsuled the hopes and wishes by the Chinese military community that China, sometime in the future, can have her own powerful 10000-ton surface warships just like the Americans.
But now, we have successfully achieved that goal with the 055-class, and the 055s of today are capable of offering way greater effective firepower than what the hypothetical "181 destroyer" could ever dream of.
We have marched this far. Thank you to all the unsung Chinese designers, engineers and workers who made this goal a reality!