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Chinese Navy commissions upgraded variation of the Type 052D destroyer.

| 2021

According to information published by Global Times on March 3, 2021, a newly commissioned, upgraded variation of the Type 052D destroyer (123) recently made its public debut in a series of maritime exercises by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, and analysts said more warships of this class are expected to join the service soon.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 guided-missile destroyer Qiqihar Hull 121 (Picture source: Global Times)

The drills featured comprehensive attack and defense training and lasted five days, the report said.

In the video released with the CNR report, a warship identified as an upgraded variation of the Type 052D guided missile destroyer and painted with hull number 123 was seen for the first time, military observers said, noting that this indicates this new ship has been commissioned into the PLA Navy.

Compared with the original Type 052D, the upgraded version, often informally dubbed the Type 052DL, has an extended helicopter flight deck and is equipped with a new anti-stealth radar, reports said previously.

The CNR report did not give further details on the ship like its name. Observers said it is likely the Huainan, the namesake of a city in East China's Anhui Province.

Replying to an inquiry by a resident on the naming of the Huainan, the local veterans affairs office confirmed in September 2020 on its website that the PLA Northern Theater Command was naming a new-type guided missile destroyer as the Huainan, without explaining the exact type of the ship.

On February 11, the Huainan Daily released a video showing crew members of the Huainan extending Spring Festival greetings to people in the city. The video shows that the Huainan is a Type 052D destroyer, and indicated that the warship was commissioned into the PLA Navy before the report date, analysts said.

The PLA Navy's official Sina Weibo account also released a video on February 11 mentioning a warship named after Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, without elaboration or footage on the ship that makes its type identifiable. Analysts speculate that the Suzhou is also a newly commissioned destroyer, citing the PLA's naval vessels naming regulation.

The Type 052D incorporates improved design, as well as sensors and weapons fit. Its layout slightly differs from that of the earlier Type 052C class, as its superstructure inclines inward at a greater angle for reduced radar cross-section.

The Type 052D destroyer is mounted with a multi-purpose vertical launch system for firing CJ-10 land-attack cruise missiles, HHQ-9 series long-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), HQ-16 and DK-10A medium-range SAMs, YJ-18/YJ-83 anti-ship missiles, as well as CY-5 series anti-submarine missiles.

These air-defense destroyers are fitted with the four-panel Type 346A multifunction phased-array radar system, which is combined with a 64-cell missile vertical launching system (VLS) to offer long-range area air-defense, modern anti-ship, and—potentially—land-attack cruise-missile capabilities.

The VLS launchers are fitted in two 32-cell sets, one forward of the helicopter hangar and a second aft of the 5.1-inch gun. Carried inside is a reported mix of HHQ-9 surface-to-air (SAM), YJ-18 anti-ship cruise (ASCM), and CY-5 antisubmarine missiles.

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