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Luyang II / Type 052C / Lanzhou Multirole Destroyer

There are significant difference between the “Lanzhou” guided missile destroyer, also known as the “Chinese Aegis”, and the “Yulin” and “Hengshui” guided missile frigates. These two types of warships are differently graded in tonnage. About 2,000 tons bigger than “Yulin” and “Hengshui” guided missile frigates in tonnage, the “Lanzhou” guided missile destroyer is mounted with more powerful air-defense guided missiles and radar-detection equipment than those in the frigates. Nevertheless, coordination must be formed between these two types of warships. Although frigates are relatively small, they are very agile and can accomplish different tasks respectively under the unified command of the taskforce.

During an air defense operation in an open air, the frigates can perform pre-phase security detection and early warning, and serve as an effective sentinel against the detection of the enemy's air defense areas. Its anti-aircraft guided missiles can also form an effective protection shield. In terms of costs, frigates cost less than destroyers. Therefore, the taskforce composed by guided missile frigates and guided missile destroyers is an effective coordination and bears key importance.

The fourth unit of the Luhai class (probably Type 052C or possibly Type 052BK?) was also constructed at Jiangnan Shipyard, as the two Type 052B DDGs were being fitted out. The Type 052 series has evidently embraced a modular design featuring spiral development, with new variants being introduced after only one or two units of the previous version.

The Type 052C Luyang II is generally similar to 052B, with the notable addition of four fixed phased array antennas in the foreward superstructure. Two antennae cover the forward hemisphere while the other pair covers the rear hemisphere, the arragement adopted on the US Navy's Arleigh Burkes and the Japanese Kongos. Reports indicate this radar may be a co-development program with the Kvant-Radiolokatsiya company of the Ukraine. The band and performance of this radar have not yet been publicly reported. The radar may be a developed version of that first seen on the No. 970 weapons development ship, and could either be S-Band or Russian-style X-Band.

The two Type 730 CIWS have been relocated to the raised platform in front of bridge and atop the rear helicopter hanger. The phased array radars indicates that the Type 052C will be the first Chinese DDG equipped with the new HHQ-9 vertically launched long-range SAM system

Using the same stealthy hull and engine configuration of the No. 168 class, this destroyer is armed with forty-eight new type vertical-launched anti-aircraft missiles of either Russian or Chinese origin. As such they will be the first dedicated long range air defense ships for the PLAN.

The forward VLS station (possibly 6 revolver launchers, each with 6 missiles) will probably be between the forward CIWS platform and the main gun, while the aft VLS station (possibly a pair of six-pack revolver launchers) will likely be forward of the helicopter hanger. A pair of quadruple semi-cylindical racks for the new YJ-62 long-range SSM are between the rear mast and the helicopter hanger. The missiles are guided by the Band Stand radar on top of the bridge and a Light Bulb datalink forward of the hanger. The same guidance package was also found onboard 052B. A metric-wave radar with Yagi antenna is midship, for long range detection or ECM. A new EW suite featuring phased array antennas similar to AN/SLQ-32 EW system is on the side of the forward mast. The ship was also expected to have a new generation of Aegis-like C3I system. The ships feature an aft flight deck for the Z-9C ASW helicopter, and a hangar that can support a pair of these helicopters.

As of early 2004 a pair of 052Cs were under construction (170 & 171) with the first ship launched on 29 April 2003 and the second on 30 October 2003. The building of two 052Bs and two 052Cs in such a short time frame reflects the PLAN's need to replace the obsolete air-defense systems of its surface ships. In June 2005 it was reported that two Luyang II missile destroyers were undergoing sea trials. The fourth Type 052C class destroyer, pennant number 173 went into service with the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy) in June 2012.

After commissioning no new destroyers in 2008-2010, construction of new destroyers appeared to have resumed with serial production of Luyang II-class ships. Construction of the LUYANG II-class DDG (Type 052C) continued, with one ship entering service in 2012, and an additional three ships under various stages of construction and sea trials, bringing the total number of ships of this class to six by the end of 2013.




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