Nicknamed ‘Chinese Aegis’, the Type 052C (NATO code name: Luyang-II class) destroyers are the first truly multirole and highly capable, modern indigenous destroyers introduced by the PLA Navy. With a multifunctional active phased array radar, C3I combat system, VLS-launched air-defence system, and long-range anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), the destroyers are regarded comparable in general performance and capability to the U.S. Arleigh Burke class and Japanese Kongo class DDG.
Type: Multirole missile destroyer (DDG). Designer: CSIC China Ship Design & Research Centre (701 Institute). Builders: CSSC Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) Co., Ltd. IOC: 2005. Number: 6
The PLA Navy began to develop the concept of an air defence guided missile destroyer as the follow-on of the Type 052 Luhu class in the early 1990s. However, delays in the development of the HHQ-9 air defence missile and phased array air search radar led to the Type 052B (Luyang class) being incorporated with Russian-built air defence missile and air search radar as a stopgap. The indigenous HHQ-9 SAM and Type 346 (‘Dragon Eye’) phased array radar finally became available in the early 2000s and were installed on the subsequent Type 052C destroyers.
The Shanghai-based Jiangnan Shipyard began to build the Type 052C missile destroyers in late 2002. The destroyer shared the same hull design as its predecessor the Type 052B, but was fitted with completely indigenous weapon systems and sensors. The first-of-class Lanzhou (170) was laid down in late 2002 and launched on 29 April 2003. Sea trials began in late 2003 and the destroyer was commissioned in July 2004. The second hull, Haikou (171) was launched on 30 October 2003 and commissioned in 2005. Both hulls have been deployed by the PLA Navy South Sea Fleet.
For the next few years the Type 052C production halted as the shipyard relocated its operation from its original location south of central Shanghai to a new site on Changxing Island, in the mouth of the Yangtze River to the north of urban China. The third-of-class, Changchun (150), was launched in October 2010. Within the next three years, three more hulls were launched before the production finally stopped and was succeeded by the improved Type 052D (Luyang-III class) destroyers. The four hulls in the second batch of the Type 052B have been deployed by the PLA Navy East Sea Fleet.
The Type 052C represented a significant development in China’s effort to create a ‘blue-water’ navy capable of operating in deep waters of open oceans. It was also the first destroyer to have been build in a large number since the 1980s, ending the PLA Navy’s prolonged period of building different classes in small quantities to experiment with the various designs and technologies. The Type 052B destroyers were designed primarily to fit the fleet air defence role with their powerful air-defence missiles and active phased array radar, but they also possess considerable anti-ship and anti-submarine capabilities.
The Type 052’s size and displacement were limited by its two underpowered Ukrainian DA80/DN80 gas turbines, each rated at 32,600 hp (24 MW), in comparison with the four General Electric LM2500 gas turbines each generating 26,250 hp (20 MW) on the Arleigh Burke class. This in turn limits the height of the bridge superstructure to ensure ship stability, which means that the four radar arrays could not be fitted at an ideal height in order to maximise their performance.
The Type 052 destroyer is equipped with the indigenous HHQ-9 air defence missile system, with 48 ready-to-launch missiles housed in eight 6-cell vertical launch systems (VLS) below decks. Unlike the Russian-style revolver VLS, the Type 052C’s VLS is fixed with each launch cell having its own lid. The missile system utilises a ‘cold launch’ method, with the missile first ejected from the launch tube, and then igniting its rocket engine at low altitude. This launch method avoids the complex flame and gas exhausting pipes on the Western-style ‘hot launch’ VLS, and also decreases damage to the ship structure caused by the rocket motor blast.
The HHQ-9 is the naval variant of the land-based HQ-9 surface-to-air missile system developed in the 1990s. The missile may have adopted some Russian S-300 rocket motor and control technologies, with a “track via missile” (TVM) guidance system allegedly developed from the U.S. Patriot missile technology. The missile is housed inside a cylinder shape container, which is placed inside the VLS, and is guided by the destroyer’s H/LJG-346 (Type 346) active phased array radar.
For short-range air defence, there are two indigenous Type 730 close-in weapon systems (CIWS) installed in front of the bridge and on top of the aft deckhouse respectively. Each CIWS consists of the H/PJ-12 7×30 mm gun, H/LJP-349 fire-control radar, Type 4 electro-optical director (EOD), all incorporated in a single turret complex. Target acquisition is provided by the H/LJQ-364 radar installed on top of the bridge. The seven-barrelled H/PJ-12 gun has a firing rate of 4,200 rounds/min, and is fed from a 640-round box inside the turret. It has a maximum firing range of 3,500 m against aircraft and 2,500 m against anti-ship missile.
The destroyer is armed with eight YJ-62 (C-602) ASCMs carried inside a cylinder-shape launcher (two 4-cell launchers at the mid-ship). The missiles are guided by the H/LJQ-366 (Russian MR331 Mineral-ME ‘Band Stand’) radar installed on top of the bridge and a ‘Light Bulb’ datalink forward of the hanger. The YJ-62 uses strap-down inertial guidance coupled with Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) input, and active radar for the terminal phase. The missile has a stated range of 280 km, with a flying altitude of 30 m during the cruise phase of an engagement and 7—10 m in the terminal phase. The active radar seeker has an acquisition range of up to 40 km.
The main gun on the bow deck is an indigenous H/PJ-87 single-barrel 100 mm gun developed by 713 Institute, based on the French Creusot-Loire T100C. The gun can be used against surface targets as well as air targets such as aircraft and low speed missile, with a firing rate of 90 rounds/min and a maximum range of 17.5 km. The gun can be operated in fully automatic mode from the radar control system, from the shipborne optical sighting system, or laid manually.
The Type 052C has two Type 7424 triple-barrel 324 mm torpedo launchers (B.515S copy) for the Yu-7 active/passive acoustic-homing anti-submarine torpedoes. The Yu-7 carries a 45 kg warhead and has a maximum range of 7.3 km and a maximum speed of 28 knots. The depth of search/attack is 6—400 m.
The four H/RJZ-726-4 18-barrel chaff/decoy launchers on the aft deck can also be used to fire ASW rockets if necessary.
H/RJZ-726 active/passive ECM suite consisting of interceptor and jammer
4x H/RJZ-726-4 18-barrelled 122 mm decoy flare/chaff launcher
Command and Control
A destroyer’s overall air defence, surface strike, and antisubmarine warfare (ASW) capabilities will largely depend on how well different weapon systems and sensors are integrated together by the combat system. Most previous Chinese warships use the command and control system derived from the French Thomson-CSF TAVITAC, but the Type 052C is equipped with a newly developed system with improved processing power to engage anti-ship missile threats.
Although the detailed information on the combat system of the Type 052C is unknown, it is likely that the system will comprise the multifunction phased array radar system, command and decision system, battlefield display system, and weapon control system. The command and decision system receives data from ship sensors and provides command, control and threat assessment. The weapon control system receives engagement instruction from the command and decision system, selects weapons and interfaces with the weapon fire control systems.
In together with its long-range air defence missile and close-in weapon system (CIWS), the Type 052C is the first Chinese-made surface combatant with a true fleet air defence capability. The combat system will ensure that the ship can engage multiple air targets such as sea-skimming missile and aircraft simultaneously. The ship might also be able to transmit combat information to other ships and aircraft via datalink and satellite communications to form a maritime combat network.
The Type 052C is fitted with the H/LJG-346 (Type 346, NATO code name: ‘Dragon Eye’) multifunctional radar system developed by Nanjing Research Institute of Electronic Technology (CETC 14 Institute). The concept of the radar was first conceived in 1989 but its engineering development only began in 1995 after being chosen by the PLA Navy as the preferred air search radar for its air defence destroyer.
The system features four large active phased array radar (APAR) arrays installed on the destroyer’s bridge superstructure, each consisting of 5,000 S-band transceiver modules and a C-band SAM guidance module, housed inside rectangle-shaped module. The radar module employs an air-cooling system, with the module cover in a curved shape to allow sufficient airflow in the central part of the module where the most heat is generated by the radar transceivers.
Other sensors onboard the Type 052C include:
1x H/LJQ-366 (copy of the Russian MR331 Mineral-ME ‘Band Stand’) AShM fire-control, I-band
1x H/LJP-344A main gun fire-control, I/J-band
1x H/LJQ-364 CIWS target acquisition and air/surface search, G/H-band
1x Type 517H-1 (‘Knife Rest’) long-range 2D air search, A-band
2x H/LJP-349 CIWS fire-control, J-band (as part of the Type 730 CIWS)
2x Type 4 electro-optical director (EOD) CIWS fire-control (as part of the Type 730 CIWS)
2x Racal-Decca RM1290 navigation, I-band
H/SJD-9 hull-mounted medium-frequency, active/passive search and attack
The Type 052C has a flight deck and hangar to support the operations of a single antisubmarine warfare (ASW) helicopter, either a Kamov Ka-28 (‘Helix’) or a Harbin Z-9C. The Ka-28 is armed with torpedoes or deep charges and capable of operating in all-weather conditions up to 200 km from the host ship. The smaller Z-9C can be armed with a low-frequency dipping sonar system and Yu-7 anti-submarine torpedoes.
The destroyer’s propulsion is in the form of CODOG, consisting of two Ukraine Zorya-Mashproekt DA80/DN80 gas turbines each rated at 32,600 hp (24 MW) and two Shaanxi diesels (Chinese copy of the MTU 20 V956 TB92) rated at 8,840 hp (6.5 MW), giving a maximum speed of 29 knots.
Displacement (t):......5,950 (standard), 6,288 (full load) Length (m):............155.5 Beam (m):..............17.2 Draft (m):.............6.1 Speed (knots):.........29 Range (nm):............N/A Crew:..................280
Name No. Builder Fleet Launched Commissioned ----------------------------------------------------------------- Lanzhou 170 Jn SSF 2003-04-29 2005-09 Haikou 171 Jn SSF 2003-10-30 2005-12 Changchun 150 Jn ESF 2010-10-28 2013-01-31 Zhengzhou 151 Jn ESF 2011-06-25 2013-12-26 Jinan 152 Jn ESF 2011-12 2014-12-22 Xi’an 153 Jn ESF 2012-06-16 2015-02-09 Jn.....Jiangnan Shipyard ESF....East Sea Fleet SSF....South Sea Fleet