The Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company reportedly launched China’s 19th and 20th Type 052D Luyang III-class guided-missile destroyers — dubbed the “Chinese Aegis”—at the company’s shipyard in Dalian in Northeast China on May 10, according to local media reports.
“Decked with Chinese national flags, the two Type 052D destroyers were launched in the Dalian Shipyard on Friday with the assistance of tug boats, marking the 19th and 20th of launches of their kind,” the Global Times reported on May 12, based on information provided by the Chinese news website wenweipo.com.
“China now has 20 Type 052Ds either in active service or being fitted out for service soon,” the Global Times adds.
Type 052D guided missile destroyers are alternatively constructed in Dalian or at the Jiangnan shipyard, located on Changxing Island in Shanghai. The first-of-class Kunming was commissioned into service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in March 2014.
The destroyers are multipurpose surface combatants and can be deployed for a variety of tasks including anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare operations. The ships are expected to be part of future PLAN carrier strike groups (CSG) and are part of the service’s first CSG, formed around the service’s sole operational aircraft carrier, the 60,000-ton Liaoning, a retrofitted Soviet-era Admiral Kuznetsov-class multirole aircraft carrier.
I previously explained the Type 052D’s combat systems:
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 (SAM).
The warship also carries CJ-10 land attack cruise missiles, CT-5 anti-submarine missiles, and TY-83 anti-ship missiles in addition to medium-range SAMs. Type 052D warships are also fitted with a powerful Type 346A active electronically scanned array (AESA), a H/LJQ-364 low-altitude search radar, H/LJQ-366 over-the-horizon surface search & targeting radar, and H/LJQ-517B air search radar, as well as fire control radars.
The Type 052D can also carry antisubmarine warfare (ASW) helicopters such as the new Harbin Z-20 or Zhi-20 in its hangar.
Last month, during a naval parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the creation of the PLAN, the service displayed its most advanced surface combatant, the Type 055 guided-missile destroyer class (NATO designation: Renhai-class). The Type 055 and Type 052D are expected to together form the core of China’s future CSG and surface battle groups.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and PLAN Commander Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong were both embarked aboard a Type 052D destroyer for the duration of the parade.