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Luyang III / Type 052D - Design

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.

One source reported 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 were 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.

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

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.

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.

One of the most moving episodes in the Chinese blockbuster Wolf Warrior 2 is the one in which the captain of a Type 052D guided-missile destroyer shouts "Fire!" to order the launch of supersonic cruise missiles to hit rebel troops in an imaginary African nation holding Chinese hostages. However, this scenario could not have happened in real life because in the Gulf of Aden there have been no Type 052D destroyers-now considered the most capable combat ship in the People's Liberation Army Navy. Instead, the Navy has sent other vessels to the once pirate-plagued waters to protect civilian vessels for nearly 11 years. That changed as the Navy decided to dispatch a Type 052D to take part in its latest escort mission. The CNS Xining, the fifth in the Type 052D class, sailed toward the Gulf of Aden in August 2019.

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Page last modified: 31-12-2019 16:03:25 ZULU