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China Launched the Fourteenth Type 052D Destroyer for the PLAN.

| 2018

Our colleagues from East Pendulum are reporting that the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or Chinese Navy)'s fourteenth Type 052D Destroyer (NATO reporting name Luyang III class) was launched in early July at the Jiangnan-Changxing naval shipyard near Shanghai. Satellite images have shown that this vessel has been modified: Its helicopter deck is slightly longer.

China Launched the Fourteenth Type 052D Destroyer for the PLAN 1The fourteenth Type 052D destroyer for the PLAN.

With the much larger and more advanced Type 055 program now in full swing, some may have thought that the Type 052D program would be over. But it is clear that 052D destroyers are still considered key assets for the expansion of the PLAN fleet: Six vessels are in active service today and eighteen in total are set to be delivered. Ten of them to date have been built at Jiangnan Changxing shipyard.

Is this lengthened Type 052D actually a new class of destroyer (sometimes referred as Type 052E) featuring many improvements ? Or is it "just" a Type 052D with a larger helicopter deck to support the new Z-20 helicopter ?

In the absence of official or institutional elements, it seems much more prudent to stick to the second hypothesis. In addition, nothing indicates significant deficiencies and obsolescence in the Type 052D to fulfill its main role (escort of high value units). This class of destroyers still remains relatively recent with the commissioning of the first in class ship in March 2014.

The new Z-20 helicopter, is larger than the existing Z-9C/D and Ka-27/28 used by the Chinese Navy. The Z-20 didn't exist at the time of the design phase of Type 052D during the 11th Five-Year Plan ( 2006 - 2010).

It is highly likely that all future Type 052Ds will feature the lengthened helicopter deck. An article published on July 6 on the Weixin account of the Chinese shipyard mentions "lead ship" when talking about this fourteenth Type 052D, without additional details. Unofficial sources have also suggested that some of the ship's sensors, such as the H/LJQ-364 low-altitude search radar or the H/LJQ-517B air search radar, could be replaced by newer models, but this remains to be confirmed.

China Launched the Fourteenth Type 052D Destroyer for the PLAN 2On July 6, 2018, outside Zone No. 3 at Jiangnan Changxing Shipyard: A destroyer Type 052D (left) and a Type 055. Photo by 老年

It should be noted that the Chinese naval industry has launched no less than 16 new surface vessels for the PLAN since the beginning of the year among which 4 destroyers (including this news Type 052D), 1 frigate, 5 corvettes and 6 other vessels of various roles.

About Type 052D
The Type 052D Kunming class (Nato designation: Luyang III) is one of the latest generation of guided-missile destroyer (DDG) of the Chinese Navy. It is based on its predecessor, the Type 052C DDG and likely shares the same hull. However the Type 052D incorporates many improvements in terms of design as well as sensors and weapons fit. This modern class of vessel is considered as the Chinese equivalent to the American AEGIS destroyers.

At least 18 Type 052D Destroyers are expected to be built for the PLAN by two shipyards: Jiangnan-Changxing shipyard and Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company. The first vessel of of the class, Kunming (hull number 172), was commissioned in March 2014.

Displacing 7,500 tons, the class has a length of 157 meters, a beam of 17 meters and a crew complement of 280 sailors.



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