Surface Forces: Chinese Aegis Destroyer Evolves

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September 4, 2012:  Recent photos (official and otherwise) from a Chinese shipyard appear to show at least two large destroyers, apparently of the Type 052 class under construction. One was recently launched and is being called the Type 52D. It appears very similar to the American Aegis equipped destroyers (especially the Burke Class).

Over the last decades two Type 052B and two Type 052C destroyers have entered service. Now at least two of what appear to be Type 052D class ships are under construction. These appear to be 7,000 ton ships armed with 64 American style (hot launch) VLS (Vertical Launch System) tubes for anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. There is a single 130mm gun, six torpedo tubes (for submarines), and two 30mm autocannon for anti-missile defense. There is also one helicopter. This is all tentative, since the first Type 52D is still being fitted out (equipped with weapons and other gear).

The older (2004) Type 052B Guangzhou Class Destroyers are 5,900 ton general purpose ships (with anti-ship/submarine/aircraft capabilities). Armament consists of 48 HQ-16 anti-aircraft missiles (range 30 kilometers) and 16 C-802 anti-ship missiles (range 120 kilometers). There is a single 100mm gun and two 30mm autocannon for anti-missile defense. There is also one helicopter.

Type 052C Lanzhou Class Destroyers are 6,500 ton ships that first appeared in 2005. These ships use cold launch VLS (Vertical Launch System) tubes. There are 48 HQ-9 anti-aircraft missiles. There are also eight C-602 anti-ship missiles, in two four-cell launchers. There is a single 100mm gun and two 30mm autocannon for anti-missile defense. There is also one helicopter. These ships are mainly for air defense and use a phased array radar similar to the American Aegis system.

With these three versions of the Type 052 destroyer China has, in about a decade, advanced their destroyer designs considerably and now have ships similar in capabilities to the 8,300 ton American Arleigh Burke class destroyers that entered service two decades ago.

 


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