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Luyang III / Type 052D Multirole Destroyer

The layout of the 052D destroyer is similar to that of the earlier 052C, but the superstructure of the 052D slopes inward at a greater angle, providing reduced radar cross-section. Some analysts have said that the overall performance of 052D destroyers is superior to that of Japan's Atago-class destroyers, South Korea's Sejong the Great-class destroyers and the U.S. Navy's Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. But compared with Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, China's type 052D destroyers are inferior in terms of quantity, displacement and ship-based guided missiles. China needs to build larger models, including a 10,000-ton guided-missile destroyer. Furthermore, the country needs an increase in the quantity of guided-missile destroyers, as China will build more aircraft carriers in the future. Since China does not currently have cruisers, larger guided-missile destroyers are needed to play the role of cruisers.

China launched the lead ship in a follow-on class, the LUYANG III- class DDG (Type 052D). Janes Fighting Ships 2011-2012 stated that this ship was launched on November 28, 2010, and was being built to a modified version of the Luyang II design. Janes expected three further ships in this Type 052D class. This unit entered service in 2014. The LUYANG III incorporates the PLA Navys first multipurpose vertical launch system, likely capable of launching ASCM, land attack cruise missiles (LACM), surface-to-air missiles (SAM), and anti-submarine rockets.

As of 2005, a new destroyer class was expected to begin to enter the fleet by 2010, as could a new frigate. By 2020, China was expected to have its new destroyer classes in full production, with several in service or on the way. The new frigate likely will experience a similar rate of production. As they go into service, these platforms will replace the older JIANGHU I/II. By 2020, China probably will have phased out most of the LUDA Class DD.

One source reports that "Type 052D DDG ... will be a 10,000 ton destroyer, upgraded version of the Type 052C, with up to 96 VLS launchers and 128 YJ-12 anti ship missiles. Construction is expected in 2012. This will be the main surface combatant of the future PLA Navy."

At least one Chinese source of uncertain reliability predicted The Type 052D would have a vertical launch system with a a total of 96 new missile interceptors [16 VLS system with six VLS with 96 VLS cells] , and eight new Eagle 12e anti-ship cruise missiles with a range of about 180-240 km. The ship was projected to have a top speed of 32 knots, and an endurance of 14,000 nautical miles. The ship was projected to have a light displacement of 9500 tons, and a full load displacement of 12,000 tons. The length was reported as 180 meters, a beam of 20 meters, and a draft of 6.5 meters.

Even if these specifications are little more than wishful thinking, they are indicative of an expectation that China would eventually deploy a locally designed surface combatant with a displacement of about 10,000 tons, significantly larger than the 7,000 tons of the Type 052. Whether the Type 052D is this vessel, or whether something larger remains in the wings, remained unclear.

China Defense Mashup reported 09 May 2009 that "Shanghai Jiangnan Changxing shipbuilding base will build other 3 general 7000-tonne class (some opinions say 9000-10000 ton) missile destroyer, whose armament includes HHQ-9G long-range air-defense missile, HHQ-16 medium-range air defense missile, YJ-XX anti-ship/land-attacking missile, anti-submarine missile and 1 Z-15 helicopter. As the fire-control system, the improved Array Scan Radar in Type 052C is an option but Chinese people are developing a ship-borne sensor which is similar to SAMPSON multi-function air tracking radar used in British Type 45 destroyer. Type 052D, the upgrading version of well-known Type 052C destroyer, will become the air-defense core of PLA Navy Aircraft Carrier Group. ... Chinas first aircraft carrier (36+ combat aircrafts) group will consist of 4 type 052D Destroyers, 4 General missile destroyer, 2 Type 054A frigates, 2 Type 093 Nuclear Submarines. This is a frightful striking force in the disputing areas, such as the South China Sea Islands."

In August 2012 images began surfacing on Chinese military Web sites depicting the long-rumored Type 052D destroyer. China Military News repots that the new destroyer mounts two 32-unit vertical launch systems capable of launching HQ-9B air-defense missiles, anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles. The YJ-62 missile launchers seen on the Type 052C do not appear on the new DDG. Some sources speculate that the Type 052D could be equipped with a navalized version of the DH-10 land-attack cruise missile.

About 160 meters long and with a beam of 18 meters [versus 157 and 18 meters for the DDG-51], the Type 052D is slightly larger than its predecessor, the Type 052C, and is believed to displace slightly over 6,000-7,000 tons [rather less than the 9,200 ton Arleigh Burke]. The vessel uses the Type 346 Active Phased Array Radar System and a Type 518 L-band long-range radar. The main 100mm gun on the Type 052C, which was reportedly unreliable, has been replaced by a new PJ-38 130mm gun. The vessel also has a helicopter-landing platform [and probably a hangar for two helicopters, as the Type 52C] and the Chinese Type 730 counterpart to the US Close-In Weapon System.

The 130 mm gun was developed by the Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering of Zhengzhou (Zhengzhou 713 Institute), and produced by by the 2nd Machinery Factory (Baotou,Inner Mongolia). The original design used a single tube dual link ammunition handling and water-cooled systems; the barrel length (with breech) is 70 calibers. Using fully automatic loading gear teh gun has a rate of fire 40 rounds / minute. The range of non-guided shells is about 30 kilometers. The entire gun has a weight (excluding peripherals) greater than 50 tonnes, including the stealth housing. The design of this gun is thought to be based on the proven technologies of the Russian AK-130 130 mm twin-barrel gun, mainly the mechanical design, which is a weak element in Chinese ship-borne guns. The gun electrical control and aiming servo system are dependent on a new localization design.

With the first Chinese vertical launch system, some analysts compare the Type 52D to the Aegis-equipped Arleigh Burke class destroyers of the US Navy. But the Chinese vessel is smaller than the DDG-51, featuring a smaller missile launching capability. The Type 52D also has a much less extensive superstructure than the DDG-51, a curiously subdued single exhaust stack, and shorter main mast than seen on the Arleigh Burke.

Type 052D, the first of which commissioned in 2014, is a newer design than the DDG-57 Arleigh Burke, but both vessels are very good looking and capable. However, there are characteristics of the Burke IIA that are noteworthy and important, despite aesthetics. The Burke IIA has 96 VLS cells the Type 052D has 64. The Burke IIA carries two helicopters, the Type 052D carries one. The slope on the side panels of the Burke IIA provide better radar dispersion, because they are sloped more, particularly above the main deck, and also with the "raked" mast. The bow Sonar on the Burke IIA is much more powerful than that on the Type 052D. The wider beam on the Burke IIA allows for better handling, particularly in rough sea states. The AEGIS system and cooperative engagement capabilities on the Burke IIA are very well known, understood, and proven. The effectiveness of the new APARs and the combat system on the Type 052D remain unknown.

Janes Fighting Ships 2011-2012 reported that a third Luyang II-class ship, built to a modified design, was launched (i.e., put into the water for the final phase of its construction) on 28 November 2010, and was expected to enter service in 2012, and that three further ships are expected. In April 2012 informationdissemination reported that this ship had joined the PLANs East Sea Fleet, and that two further ships in the class were under construction. In July 2012 informationdissemination reported that the first Type 052D appeared to have entered service, while the second ship might have entered sea trials and the third had been launched. At that time, three additional destroyers of either the same design or a new design appear to be under construction.

A pair of hulls were seen at China State Shipbuilding Corps Jiangnan Changxing shipyard near Shanghai in early August 2012, with the first dock launch occurring in late August. Some analysts believed that as many as 10 Type 052D DDGs might be under construction, a major departure from past practice. The previous three flights of the Type 052 have consisted of just a pair of ships each, Chinese shipbuilders building just two hulls for testing, prior to moving on to the next design. The last destroyer series production was the Type 051 Luda, with 17 being built from 1872 through 1991. In this case, Chinese engineers may have developed sufficient confidence in the subsystems on the new ship to begin accelerated production. Defense analysts believe the Type 052D could enter service in 2014.

In 2009 the US Office of Naval Intelligence projected no change in the total number of destroyers in service with the PLAN over the period 2009 to 2020. Given the expected service life for the Type 051 Luda DDG, a total of about 10 Type 052D DDG would be required by 2020 to support the ONI projected destoyer force level.

Type 052D improvements over Type 052C "Red Aegis" destroyer

  1. Larger main gun: 130 mm vs. 100 mm
  2. More secure communication: Chinese Link 16 vs. Link 11/TADIL-A equivalent
  3. Larger and more advanced phased array radar: Flat AESA vs. Convex AESA radar
  4. More numerous and versatile VLS (vertical launch system): 64 versatile VLS cells vs. 48 AAW VLS cells

The new destroyers are equipped with two 32-unit vertical launch systems capable of launching HQ-9B air-defense missiles, anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles. The original YJ-62 missile launchers used on the Type 052C do not appear to be present on the new destroyer. It has been speculated that the Type 052D could be equipped with a naval-style version of the DH-10 land-attack cruise missile.

The new-type guided missile destroyer "Kunming" was delivered and commissioned to the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLAN) on 21 March 2014. The "Kunming" with hull number 172, is the new generation of China-made guided missile destroyers. It has strong capacity in air defense and naval warfare.

The first Type 052D destroyer, the Kunming, joined the Navy in March 2014, while the second, the Changsha, in August 2015. The Type 052D world-class guided missile destroyer, the Hefei, joined the fleet of the Chinese Navy to boost its combat capability. The delivery ceremony of the ship to the South Sea Fleet of the Chinese Navy took place on 12 December 2015 at a naval base in Sanya, in the island province of Hainan. Beijing plans to build at least 10 warships of the Kunming class to enhance protection of the nations maritime interests. China was projected by DOD as of 2013 to build more than a dozen of these ships to replace its aging LUDA-class destroyers (DD).

China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) commissioned its third Type 052D Luyang III-class destroyer Hefei (174), in a ceremony on 12 December 2015 at the Sanya/Yalong Bay base on Hainan Island. Hefei is assigned to the South Sea Fleet. The destroyer was built at the Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard, and was launched in July 2013. Three existing 052D destroyers had been deployed as part of the South Sea Fleet. "Kunming," the first 052D destroyer, was put into use on March 21, 2014. "Changsha," the second, was put into use on Aug. 12, 2015. "Hefei," the third, was put into use on Dec. 12, 2015. The respective hull numbers of the three ships are 172, 173 and 174.

The fourth 052D guided-missile destroyer will soon be put into use, according to Cao Weidong, a Chinese military expert, in an interview with China Center Television 13 July 2016. There was already speculation that the new destroyer was ready for delivery, since a number of photos circulated online showed a ship closely resembling the previous 052D guided-missile destroyers berthed at a harbor with hull number 175 painted on its body. Cao confirmed that this was reasonable, because ships generally get put into trial maritime operation as soon as they receive hull numbers. The ship will be delivered to the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) pending a successful trial operation, Cao added.

The naming and commissioning ceremony of the new type guided-missile destroyer Xining (Hull Number 117) was held at a naval port of the North China Sea Fleet under the PLA Navy (PLAN) on 22 January 2017. The ceremony kicked off at 10 am. Rear Admiral Zhang Wendan, commander of the North China Sea Fleet of the PLA Navy, announced the order and presented the navy ensign and naming certificate for the new guided-missile destroyer Xining.

With hull number 117, Xining is a homegrown guided-missile destroyer integrated with many new types of weaponry. The destroyer has high informatization level, advanced stealth capability and electromagnetic compatibility. The destroyer is mainly responsible for formation command, regional air defense, anti-submarine warfare and other missions. Chinese navy's first generation of domestic guided-missile destroyer with hull number 108 was once also named Xining but the destroyer retired in 2013 after 33 years of service.

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