The Master 'PLAN': China's New Guided Missile Destroyer
Image Credit: Wikicommons

The Master 'PLAN': China's New Guided Missile Destroyer


We are loyal followers of baseball philosopher Yogi Berra, who reportedly proclaimed that “it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Like the great Yogi, we seldom venture prophecies. But we did hazard one in The Diplomat late in 2010, namely that the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) would defy those Western experts who opined that Beijing had slowed or halted its naval buildup.

For evidence, such experts claimed that the PLAN had stopped building guided-missile destroyers, or DDGs. If so, Beijing had made a conscious choice to limit its navy’s offensive punch. Not so, said we. Having experimented with various DDG designs, the PLAN was simply settling on a model that incorporated the best of each test platform. And indeed, DDG serial production has recommenced in earnest, judging from pictures of the new Type 052D Luyang II-class DDG that have surfaced on the Internet.

Until recently it was fashionable for Western PLA-watchers to contend that Chinese shipyards had slowed or stopped construction of major surface warships like DDGs in favor of smaller, shorter-range, seemingly more defensive-minded vessels like guided-missile frigates and fast-attack boats. They cited the dearth of clear-cut proof of DDG-building since 2005 as evidence of this supposed trend. From this they inferred that Chinese naval development had taken a less menacing turn.

This was counterintuitive at best. And indeed, a series of photos on Chinese and Western military websites over the past few years dispels such sanguine prognoses. The images indicate that Chinese shipyards had already resumed DDG construction by 2010, when we essayed our prediction about Chinese shipbuilding.

The latest reports suggest that Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai launched its sixth Type 052C DDG and is laying down an average of two hulls per year. The new combatant under construction within a nearby hangar appears to be the Type 052D, the 052C’s successor. Indeed, a well-known China-watcher confirms that one of the new vessels was launched last week. By no means does this mean the ship is ready for sea. An enormous amount of work doubtless remains to be done on it alongside the pier, per shipyards’ usual practice. Still, putting the first of its kind in the water represents an important milestone toward sending a new ship class to sea

The PLAN may have found its premier surface combatant.


[...] [...]

February 27, 2013 at 14:48

we are waiting for the US to sell us weapons in taiwan and the phillipines. they fetch quite a good price on the chinese side I hear. or jusy radar and missile cpmponents will do. thanks

Dick Lenning
December 16, 2012 at 05:26

Dan Pendelton's arrogance is quite misplaced, but not surprising.  How much experience does the US navy have against ballistic anti-ship missiles, supersonic anti-ship missiles, and "supersonic" (i.e. extremely high speed) torpedoes?  Answer: virtually nil.  China's military procured such weapons because it knew it could not win if the fighting terms were dictated by the US navy; Aegis cannot shoot down supersonic missiles (never mind hypersonic ones,) and neither its submarines nor ships can outrun Shkvall torpedoes (acquired during the Boris Yeltsin years.)  China's military also knows that those weapons are not "silver bullets," but just tools in its larger, general tool kit; once the damage is done, other conventional forces can simply "mop up."  Another vital, but often overlooked aspect is economics; Chinese high speed munitions are comparative cheap and easy to produce, whereas the USA must spend tens of billions of dollars it does NOT have to try and develop expensive counter-measures.  

November 7, 2012 at 18:11

I find it very funny indeed to see Dan's comments here. He ought to know that there are over 60 million overseas Chinese in the world (and increasing), many of whom are supposed "allies" to the US, operating US machinery and technology. Unfortunately for him, he ought to know that the Chinese invented the Art of War and were masters of psychological warfare.
1. Many Chinese control a strategic majority/near monopoly in almost all SEA economies (Yes including the Phillipines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam at one point, but not now i think). There is a huge market for American intel and technology, all of which can be easily made by a few well placed informants and technologically savvy locals like filipinos in need of some spare cash.
2. The SEA nations know that eventually, China will be the top economy and military in the world, and are beginning the transition towards preparing for Chinese hegemony. In contrast to the biased coverage in the media, we do know that the Chinese are largely a benign power since ancient times, and have historically had friendly relations with the SEA nations, and will ensure prosperity for all. Unlike the Europeans which came and colonised the locals, and the Americans which massacred 1.5 million filipino civilians in the US Spanish War after asking them to rise up aainst their Spanish masters for Liberty and Freedome- and then annexing them haha. (nothing new here, so I for one wasnt surprised how Iraq and AFghanistan and Libya went, just wait and see what excuse they have to plunder Iran's oil next). So now, SEA nations are licking up to the US side, posturing as close allies of the US, and gaining US intel and technologies – all of which are of immense use for China eventually. And China DOES reward people that sides with them richly
3. Who said anything about a conventional war? The Chinese know they cannot defeat the US conventionally so Im thinking they are going for assymetric psychological warfare: ie. think of radiation drops/bombs, limited nuclear strike, biological weapons, crop destroying viruses etc. Will the US be willing to risk those to defend say Japan, Vietnam or the Phillipines? obviously not and the Chinese will call the US bluff on that. We know it too hence why point 2 makes a lot of sense to me. If these nations develop nuclear weapons, then China will ask for nuclear inspections a la Iraq War 2 style and then call for a preemptive strike/punitive expedition against these same countries, before withdrawing scorched earth style (ie poison all crops and fields and water sources before withdrawal) without getting involved in managing sectarian violence or the aftermath insurgencies. Otherwise, at the same time, the hand is offered out for peace and cooperation so long as critical US intel and technology is given to China.
4. Already, China is the largest trade partner for almost all SEA nations in the region, with a declining role for the US. The production chain is such that if sanctions were imposed on CHina, there are downstream manufacturing losses in SEA, and all the rhetoric in the US about china trade is irking the supposedly steadfast US Allies in SEA. We want trade, Not War and all that rhetorical nonsense from US polticians.
5. American corporate interests are closely tied to China's. And money controls politics. The moment China crashes, rich Americans will burn. This is also discounting a chinese Mossad style elimination of their overseas opponents and their families. Even now, this list is being compiled including addresses, names of their children, parents, shareholdings etc. The funny thing is how many angry Americans of African, Asian and Middleeastern or Latin descent there are, and how many of them are actually already working for the Chinese.
Hint: The "Anti-Chinese" dissidents and writers or people who  claim they are "Tibetan activists" may actually be sent to the US intentionally in the first place. They will strike when it is necessary and profitable to do so.

March 2, 2014 at 18:00

Mr Sean… The Chinese have more enemies in SEA than friends. Asians are well known for their duplicity.
A hidden dagger will always be ready to stab China in the back. The hidden hand with the hidden dagger always at the ready. That is the Art of War.

Father Mao
November 2, 2012 at 11:27

@ John Chan
Have you been in Waltmart in US? Chinese products almost 100% in there. US has recognized  that US corporate greed has been helping the China revolution industrial start from the early 80'. Now with the threat from China navy do you think US corporate will continue to place orders to China manufacturers? If I was you I will shut my mouth to prevent the sad future and stay away from Japan, Philippine, and Vietnam. Go home 808.

[...] diesel-electric submarines and surface warships, including the new Type 052C “Luyang II” and Type 052D “Luyang III” destroyers now in series [...]

October 10, 2012 at 13:21

I assume when you mean by shutting down trade routes you mean the most important commodity of all – oil. That is a possible scenario which concerns China greatly. However, such move creates many problems. US is for guaranteeing free passage of trade routes, not against. Shutting it down will burn US credibility a lot and it will invite huge trade/economic war from China. Go do a research on possible scenario of economic war. DoD did. They concluded that China won. Understand that China and US are so economically tied together any economic war will badly hurt both side. CCP is a top-down political system that can control their population under chaotic situation, do you think US has the same system? Also, do not forget China holds quite a lot of US debt..and many public traded stocks. They can start a ripple effect or cause panic on financial market….if orchestrated well, you will see brokers jumping out of windows in Wall Street.
Not to mention if somehow China convince Russia to back them up, then they will have limited supply of oil. Not enough for the whole nation, but enough to power military. Combine military efforts with economic war, you still think it's a "little push of a button"? China don't have to fight US, you know. They can just shut down trade routes to Taiwan. (yes, this is within their reach) If Taiwan surrender or switch side, oil routes to S Korea and Japan is gone…and they will most likely switch side.
Still think it's a "little push of a button"?

September 12, 2012 at 02:02

nobody says that China try to win against US, all China wanted is not to lose against US, that is the difference. When you are attacking som one you have to win, when  you are defending, you win as long as you dont lose.

[...] China continues to aggressively expand its navy to challenge the US. [...]

September 10, 2012 at 02:17

i wonder if its sad that i've played so much starcraft that i heard "nuclear launch detected" in the voice of the communications-robot-thing for the Terrans.
But i digress. No power should be underestimated such that someone has to use nuclear missiles—and thus ensure mutual annihilation—in order to achieve victory in any scenario. No war is worth the cost of human extinction.

September 9, 2012 at 09:50

Hence the drive to industrialize the Philippines.

September 9, 2012 at 09:47

@JC who made a mistake, SK and Japan were given that technology by America when they purchase those boats it came with the technology and US allowed them to use that technology. 

China bought Russian planes but copies and imitates them and names them as China's own. Hence, Piracy and imitation. The Japanese and SK doesn't steal technology they get into license with the copyright owner of the technology to use it and pays premium to the copyright holder.

If you can't understand this, I would understand since all the Chinese knows is to copy and imitates and copyright does not appear on any Chinese vocabulary.

La Jiu
September 9, 2012 at 07:20

Just give Taiwan nukes…and the wu mao's poison shall be purged.

James Moore
September 8, 2012 at 09:28

Well if the US will not hesitate to use brutality to protect it's credibility or willingness to use force then does this also apply to the patronage of Beijing to Pyongyang who practice pure brutality on their people?  Does this not project Beijing's interests?  What about Zimbabwe?  Bashar Al Asad?  Tehran learned from Chinese how to put down the 2009 uprising in Iran.  The idea of taking pictures from rooftops of the opposition activists and then snatching the people in the middle of the night later came from Beijing. . . 
And this disaster in Korea?  Is there a South Korea or not today?  The fact that Seoul is prosperous, healthy, that South Korea is a dynamic economy and North Korea is the worst place on Earth today proves that there was a no disaster in Korea. The only disaster is the brutality and pain inflicted on the people of North Korea, under the tutelage of Beijing. . .

[...] safe passage through international waters and skies, the [People's Liberation Army Navy] could pursue leisurely ‘fleet experimentation,” wrote Naval War College professors Toshi Yoshihara and Jim Holmes on [...]

September 7, 2012 at 23:10

Oh Jon the commie, not ever person is equal if that were the case you wouldnt have the government imposing a child policy on you (if more was simply better). in a few generations you will run into the problem have too many old chinese and not enough young ones, lets open the floodgates to the africans and see how you liike "diviersity". ahahah

September 7, 2012 at 22:55

Hey Jim I am sure you familiar with this old chess nut: nuclear launch detected.

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