Nicknamed ‘Chinese Aegis’, the Type 052C (NATO reporting name: Luyang-II class) destroyers were the first truly multirole and highly capable, modern indigenous destroyers introduced by the PLA Navy. With a multifunctional active phased array radar, Aegis-type C3I system, 48 VLS-launched SAM, and eight long-range anti-ship cruise missile (ASCMs), the destroyers are believed to be comparable in general performance and capability to the U.S. Arleigh Burke class and Japanese Kongo class DDG.
The PLA Navy began to develop the concept of an air defence guided missile destroyer as the follow-on of Type 052 Luhu class in the early 1990s. However, delays in the development of the HHQ-9 SAM and phased array 3D air search radar led to Type 052B (Luyang class) being incorporated with Russian-built SAM and air search radar systems as a stopgap. The indigenous HHQ-9 SAM and Type 346 phased array radar finally became available in the early 2000s, and were incorporated onto the improved Type 052C destroyer.
Shanghai-based Jiangnan Shipyard began to build the Type 052C air defence missile destroyer in late 2002. The destroyer shared the same hull design as its predecessor Type 052B, but was fitted with completely indigenous weapon systems and sensors. The first-of-class DDG-170 Lanzhou was laid down in late 2002 and launched on 29 April 2003. Sea trial began in late 2003 and the destroyer was commissioned in July 2004. The second hull, DDG-171 Haikou was launched on 30 October 2003 and was commissioned in 2005. Both vessels are deployed by the PLA Navy South Sea Fleet.
For the next few years the Type 052C production halted as Jiangnan 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, DDG-150 Changchun, 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) destroyer. The second batch of four hulls have been deployed by the PLA Navy East Sea Fleet.
Type 052C represented a significant development in China’s effort to produce 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 destroyer classes in small quantities to experiment with the various designs and technologies. The destroyers were designed primarily to fit the fleet air defence role with their powerful air-defence missiles and active phased array radar, but also possess decent anti-ship and anti-submarine capabilities.
Type 052’s size and displacement were limited by its two underpowered Ukrainian DA80 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 to avoid overturning the vessel, which means that the four air search radar arrays could not be fitted at an ideal height in order to maximise their performance.
A total of 48 indigenous HHQ-9 air defence missiles are housed in eight 6-cell vertical launch systems (VLS). Unlike the Russian-style revolver VLS, 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 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/LJG346 (Type 346) phased array search and targeting radar.
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 Mineral-ME (NATO reporting name: ‘Band Stand’) radar (or its Chinese copy Type 366) 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 GPS, and active radar for the terminal phase. The missile has a stated range of 280 km, with the missile flying at an altitude of 30 m during the cruise phase of an engagement. In the terminal phase, the missile descends 7—10 m. 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. Resembling the French Creusot-Loire T100C in design, the gun can be used against both surface targets and air targets such as aircraft and low speed missile, with a maximum rate of fire of 90 rounds/min. The gun can be operated in fully automatic mode from the radar control system, from the shipborne optical sighting system, or laid manually.
For short-range air defence, the destroyer is equipped with two (one front, one rear) seven-barrel 30-mm Type 730 CIWS. The weapon system has a maximum rate of fire of 4,600—5,800 rounds/min and a maximum range of 3 km. 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 052C has two triple 324-mm torpedo launchers (B.515S copy) for the Yu-7 (Mk-46 Mod 1) 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 Type 726-4 18-barrel (3×6 arrangement) chaff/decoy launchers on the aft deck can also be used to fire ASW rockets if necessary.
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 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), 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.
Phased Array Radar
Type 052C is fitted with the H/LJG346 (Type 346, NATO reporting 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 radar features four large active phased array radar (APAR) arrays installed on the destroyer’s bridge, 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 Type 052C include:
- Type 517H-1 (NATO reporting name: ‘Knife Rest’) long-range 2D air search radar;
- Russian MR331 Mineral-ME (NATO reporting name: ‘Band Stand’) for AShM fire-control;
- Indigenous Type 344 (MR34) radar for main gun fire-control;
- Indigenous Type 364 (SR64) surface search radar;
- Two Type 347G (EFR-1, NATO reporting name: ‘Rice Lamp’) fire-control radar for the Type 730 CIWS;
- A hull-mounted H/SJD-9 medium-frequency sonar for active/passive search and attack.
The destroyer’s stern hangar accommodates one Kamov Ka-28 (NATO codename: Helix) antisubmarine warfare (ASW) helicopter. Carrying various weapons including torpedoes and deep charges, the helicopter can operate in all weather conditions up to 200 km from the host ship. Alternatively, the destroyer can carry an indigenous Z-9C helicopter.
Type 052C’s propulsion is in the form of CODOG, consisting of two Ukraine-made DA80/DN80 gas turbines each rated at 32,600 hp (24 MW) and two Shaanxi diesels (Chinese copy of the MTU 20V956TB92) each rated at 8,840hp (6.5 MW), giving a maximum speed of 29 knots.
Displacement:......6,600 t (full load) Length:............155.5 m Beam:..............17.2 m Draft:.............6.1 m Speed..............29 knots Range:.............N/A Crew:..............280
|Lanzhou||170||Jiangnan||South Sea||29 April 2003||Sep 2005||–|
|Haikou||171||Jiangnan||South Sea||30 Oct 2003||Dec 2005||–|
|Changchun||150||Jiangnan Changxing||East Sea||28 Oct 2010||31 Jan 2013||–|
|Zhengzhou||151||Jiangnan Changxing||East Sea||25 Jun 2011||26 Dec 2013||–|
|Jinan||152||Jiangnan Changxing||East Sea||Dec 2011||22 Dec 2014||–|
|Xi’an||153||Jiangnan Changxing||East Sea||16 Jun 2012||9 Feb 2015||–|