Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company, China’s largest shipbuilder, located in the city of Dalian in the country’s northeast, has launched the 13th Type 052D Luyang III-class guided-missile destroyer — dubbed the “Chinese Aegis” on June 26, IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly reports.
The new destroyer, christened Qiqihar, is a multi-purpose warship and can be deployed against enemy aircraft, submarines, and also defend People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) formations such as China’s future carrier strike groups against missile attacks. As I explained elsewhere (See: “China Launches Yet Another ‘Carrier Killer’ Destroyer”):
A Type 052D Luyang III-class destroyer is equipped with 64 vertical launch cells, each capable of carrying one to four missiles. The ship carries one of the PLAN’s deadliest anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM), the vertically-launched YJ-18 ASCM. Next to its YJ-18 arsenal, Type 052D guided-missile destroyers are also equipped with modern HQ-9 surface-to-air-missiles.
The ship is also equipped with a powerful Type 346A active electronically scanned array (AESA). There has been speculation that this new radar will be capable of detecting stealth fighter jets aircraft including the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. Additionally, I explained:
The new destroyer class is also part of fulfilling China’s aspiration to build a “blue water” navy, i.e. fielding “far seas” capable warships by providing air cover outside of shore-based air defense systems. Type 052D Luyang III-class destroyers and similar ships “will likely provide increased weapons stores and overall flexibility as surface action groups venture more frequently into blue water in the coming years,” the Pentagon’s 2015 Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) report on China’s naval power noted.
The PLAN has not announced a commissioning date for the new guided-missile destroyer. Overall, more than 18 Type 052D warships are expected to be commissioned in the coming year. Yesterday, the PLAN also launched the lead ship of a new warship class, the Type 055 guided-missile destroyer. Displacing over 10,000 tons, the ship will be substantially larger than the 7,500-ton Type 052D destroyer class and also be more heavily armed.
The new Type 055 destroyer will be fitted with two rather than one 64-cell vertical launch system capable of firing anti-ship and land attack cruise missiles; as well medium and long-range air defense missiles. While both classes of warships will be armed with a 130 millimeter main gun, Type 055 destroyers will be capable of accommodating two rather than a single Z-18 anti-submarine warfare helicopter.
The PLAN could commission up to eight Type 055 ships. The lead ship of the class is expected to be commissioned in 2018 0r 2019, following the successful completion of sea and weapons trials.