Type 052 (NATO reporting name: Luhu class) is the PLA Navy’s first ‘true’ multirole missile destroyer. Utilising a mixture of Chinese- and Western-designed weapon systems and sensors, the destroyers are able to fulfil a variety of roles from surface strike, air defence, to antisubmarine warfare (ASW). They are also the first Chinese naval vessels to utilise the more advanced gas turbine propulsion.
The PLA Navy began to develop the concept of a new-generation multirole missile destroyer in the late 1980s. The destroyers were designed by Wuhan-based China Ship Building Institute (701 Institute) and built by Hudong Shipyard (now Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard) in Shanghai. Construction of the first-of-class DDG-112 Harbin began in 1986, and the ship was launched in 1991. System installation and sea trial lasted for three years before the ship finally entered the service in 1994. The delay was mainly caused by the complexity of integrating various foreign-made contents. The second hull DDG-113 Qingdao was commissioned in 1996.
DDG-112 Harbin was first revealed during the PLA exercise during the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis. On 21 March 1997, the destroyer and two other Chinese warships made a historical visit to San Diego, California in the first-ever visit by PLA Navy ships to the mainland U.S. Between May and October 2002, a fleet comprising DDG-113 Qingdao and AO-575 Taicang replenishment ship conducted the first global cruise in the PLA Navy’s history.
Type 052 is the first Chinese-built surface combatant that meets modern standards, representing a significant improvement in China’s shipbuilding and shipborne weapon technologies. The destroyer is fitted with sophisticated air defence, anti-submarine warfare, electronic warfare, and C3I systems. The advanced gas turbine propulsion provides the vessel with high power-to-weight ratio and enables them to accelerate and get underway quickly.
The hull design of Type 052 features certain European influence. The ship has a higher beam-length ratio which increases the stability of the ship in bad weather conditions, but sacrifices the speed performance of the ship. With a full displacement of 4,800 t, the destroyer was also the largest surface warship in service with the PLA Navy at the time of its commission.
Despite their significant improvement over the previous Type 051 Luda class destroyer, Type 052 is still regarded as inferior to the surface combatants introduced by Western and Russian navies in the same age. The ship’s air defence firepower, originally consisting of a 13 km-range Crotale/HQ-7 SAM launcher and four twin-37mm AAA guns, is only capable of point defence against limited number of targets. The ship’s variable depth sonar (VDS) was still inferior to the latest Western designs. Additionally, the shipborne Z-9C naval helicopter only had very limited antisubmarine warfare capability.
A key weakness of the Type 052 destroyer is its large amount of foreign-made systems, which were sourced from the U.S., France, and Italy. These systems were not made to operate together or with Chinese-made systems, and as a result, they were not well integrated. In addition, the two hulls of the class also differed slightly in weapon system configuration. For these reasons, the two Type 052 hulls primarily served as technology demonstrators, with no follow-up hull built.
In 2003/04, both hulls of Type 052 received midlife modernisation refits, including the replacement of the eight YJ-8 AShMs with sixteen YJ-83s; the replacement of the French French Thales Crotale SAM with the indigenous HHQ-7; the replacement of the HP/J33A dual-100 mm main gun with the Type 79A dual-100 mm gun; and the replacement of the original Type 362 air/surface radar with a Type 364 radar.
In 2011, a second modernisation refit of both hulls involved the replacement of the four Type 76A guns with two Type 730 close-in weapon systems (CIWS) installed on top of the helicopter hangar; the replacement of the original HHQ-7 SAM was replaced by the improved HHQ-7B; and the replacement of the Type 581 Hai Ying radar with the Type 517M long-range air search radar.
Following the modernisation refit, the primary surface strike weapon system of Type 052 is the YJ-83 sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missile. Four quadruple launchers are installed at the mid-ship position. The missile uses active radar-homing to deliver a 165 kg warhead to a range in excess of 180 km.
The main air defence weapon is an 8-cell HHQ-7 short-range SAM system, designed to engage aircraft in all-weather, day/night conditions at a maximum range of 8—12 km with line-of-sight guidance. The missile also has limited capability to intercept sea-skimming anti-ship missiles at a much closer range (4—6 km).
A Type 79A (PJ-33) dual-barrel 100-mm/56-calibre gun is installed on the bow deck, in front of the SAM launcher. The gun is capable of firing 15 kg shells at a rate of 18 rounds per minute to a range of 22 km.
For air defence the frigate is equipped with four Type 76A dual 37-mm anti-aircraft artillery guns, capable of firing 1.42 kg shells at a rate of 180 rounds per minute to a range of 8.5 km against airborne targets. These were later replaced by two Type 730 CIWS. The seven-barrel gun provides a firing rate of 4,600—5,800 rounds/minute and a maximum firing range of 3,000 m. Each CIWS has its own independent power-supply, as well as a Type 347G (EFR-1) fire-control radar (6 km detection range against airborne targets of RCS 0.1m2) and an electro-optic director (5—6 km tracking range).
Type 052 is fitted with two triple-324mm torpedo launchers, which is used to launch the Yu-7 (copy of the U.S. Mk46 Mod-1) anti-submarine torpedo. The Yu-7 carries a 45 kg to engage underwater target at a speed of 43 kt, and has a maximum range of 7.3 km.
There are two Type 75 (RBU-1200) 12-tube anti-submarine rocket launchers installed on the bow deck, with 120 rockets (240 mm calibre, 34 kg warhead). The maximum range is 1,200 m.
The ship has a Thomson-CSF TSR 3004 Sea Tiger (or its Chinese copy Type 360S/SR60) for air and surface search; a Type 518 (REL-2) Hai Ying for long-range surveillance and early warning (later replaced by a Type 517M); a Type 345 (also known as MR35, J-band) for HQ-7 SAM fire-control; a Type 344 (also known as MR34, I/J-band) for YJ-83 SSM and 100-mm main gun fire-control; and two Type 347G (also known as EFR-1) Rice Bowl (I-band) for 37mm AAA fire-control. For navigation, the ship has two Racal Decca RM-1290 (I-band).
The destroyer is fitted with two types of sonar systems, including the DUBV-23 (SJD-8/9) medium-frequency hull-mounted sonar for active search and attack, and the DUBV-43 (ESS-1) towed medium-frequency variable depth sonar (VDS) for active attack. The Type 052 is the first Chinese destroyer to be fitted with VDS as a standard equipment.
The Type 052 has two Type 946 15-barrelled chaff/decoy launchers. Active ECM system include the Type 826C (BM-8610) intercept and jammer.
Command & Control
The Type 052 is the first Chinese surface combatant to have been equipped with an integrated combat data system. The ZJK-4 is a Chinese copy of the Italian Alenia Marconi Systems (now Selex Sistemi Integrati) IPN-10, which integrates the target acquisition, navigation, communications, signal processing and weapon control functions. The combat system central computer computes and evaluates the target data and allocates data to the weapon systems. The system carries out multiple target search and track, target prioritisation and automatic engagement of weapons.
Other systems include two Type 630 (GDG-775) optronic directors, British-made SNTI-240 satellite communications (SATCOM), and datalink.
The helicopter deck at the stern has a single landing spot for a medium size helicopter such as Harbin Z-9C. The deck is fitted with the helicopter handling system. A fully equipped hangar accommodates two helicopters.
The propulsion system is a combined diesel or gas turbine (CODOG) arrangement. The main propulsion consists of two GE LM2500 gas turbines rated at 55,000 hp (41 MW) sustained. Auxiliary propulsions include two Chinese license-built German MTU 12V 1163TB83 diesels rated at 8,840 hp (6.5 MW) sustained. The destroyer has 2 shafts with CP propellers, with a maximum speed of 31 knots.
Displacement:......4,200 t (standard); 4,800 t (full load) Length:............144 m Beam:..............15.6 m Draft:.............4.25 m Speed..............31 knots Range:.............4,000 nautical miles at 18 kt Crew:..............270 (40 officers)
|Harbin||112||Hudong||North||28 Aug 1991||8 May 1994||–|
|Qingdao||113||Hudong||North||18 Oct 1993||28 May 1996||–|