China Launches 23rd and 24th Type 052D Guided-Missile Destroyers

China has launched the 23rd and 24th Type 052D Luyang III-class guided-missile destroyers for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy this month.

The 23rd Type 052D destroyer was launched by state-owned Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC) at the company’s shipyard in Dalian in Liaoning province, Northeast China on Dec. 26. The 24th destroyer was launched by the Jiangnan Changxing Shipbuilding at its shipyard located northeast of Shanghai on Dec. 28.

Type 052D (NATO code name Luyang III class, or Kunming class after the lead ship) is a class of guided-missile destroyers being deployed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Surface Force.

Type 052D is a development of the Type 052C (Luyang II) class and is described as Chinese Aegis after the Aegis Combat System equipping U.S. Navy destroyers. The new destroyer is equipped with a flat-array AESA radar and is thought to have capabilities similar to those of U.S. Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

The Type 052D has a 64-cell vertical launching system (VLS) armed with CJ-10 land-attack cruise missiles, HHQ-9 series long-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), HQ-16 and DK-10A (possibly quad-packed) medium-range SAMs, YJ-18 and YJ-83 anti-ship missiles, as well as CY-5 series anti-submarine missiles. It is also armed with a single barrel 130 mm main gun, designated as the Type H/PJ38 CIWS. For close range engagement, the ship is equipped with HHQ-10 short-range SAM. The destroyer also integrates two Type 7424B triple torpedo tubes for launching Yu-7 torpedoes and four 18-tube launchers for firing decoy rockets.

Despite continuing the 052D production run, the PLAN has also launched a number of vessels of the successor class, the larger and more powerful Type 055 guided-missile destroyer. The sixth Type 055 destroyer was launched by DSIC on Dec. 26.

China is producing warships at a rapid clip as it modernizes its navy, which has been taking an increasingly prominent role among the country’s armed forces. Chinese Navy is undergoing an ambitious expansion and is projected to have a total of 265-273 warships, submarines and logistics vessels by 2020.

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