China commissions second Type 052D destroyer, pushes ahead with frigate, corvette launches

7:44:00 PM
BEIJING, -- People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) watchers report that the second of the Type 052D 'Luyang III' class destroyers, Yangsha (pennant number 173), was commissioned in mid-July and joined China's South Sea Fleet.

Yangsha is likely to operate from the PLAN base at Yalong Bay on Hainan Island. Although launched only four months after first-of-class Kunming (172), it was commissioned 16 months later, suggesting an extensive programme of trials.

The major change in the weapon systems between the Type 052D and the preceding Type 052C is the installation of a universal vertical launch weapon system capable of firing anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine, and land attack missiles. The Type 346 phased array radar has also been modified, so an intensive series of trials would be unsurprising.

Earlier in July, the seventh Type 052D emerged from the building shed at the Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard in Shanghai and after launch joined the sixth of class currently fitting out. Photographs showing visible progress on the eighth and ninth hulls have also appeared

Internet observers suggest that progress on the Type 052D destroyer being built at the Dalian shipyard is considerably slower than at Jiangnan Changxingdao. However, this is Dalian's first Type 052D and the pace of production is likely to increase if more orders are received.

Type 054A 'Jiangkai II' class frigates Yangzhou (578) and Handan (579) appear to have been handed over to the PLAN and are believed to have been commissioned, or they will be shortly. They are the 19th and 20th ships of the class. Two more are in build at the Hudong shipyard in Shanghai and a further two at the Huangpu yard in Guangzhou.

On 17 July the latest Type 056 'Jiangdao' class corvette was launched at the Huangpu shipyard. This is the 27th of the class and the eighth to be equipped with variable depth and towed array sonars. Reports suggest that two days later, the 22nd of class, Suqian (504), also an ASW variant, was commissioned. Earlier in the month the sixth Type 056 to be built at the Lushun Liaonan shipyard was launched.

On 10 July, two auxiliaries were commissioned, the semisubmersible Mobile Landing Platform ship Donghaidao (868) and Type 904A resupply ship Junshanhu (961).

The People's Army Liberation Navy Type 052D 'Luyang III' Class Guided Missile Destroyer 172 and 173.

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