China Expands It Fleet Of ‘Carrier Killer’ Destroyers

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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The Chinese navy’s fleet of “carrier killer” destroyers is expanding into new waters, Chinese media reports.

China’s fifth Type 052D Luyang III-class guided missile destroyer, the Xining (DDG-117), was commissioned into the North Sea Fleet of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), the China Daily revealed Tuesday.

While the Liaoning, China’s sole aircraft carrier, is regarded as the flagship. China’s Type 052D missile destroyers are considered the most powerful ships in the Chinese navy.

The 7,500-ton vessel is armed with a single-barrel 130-mm naval gun, close-in weapons systems, 64 HHQ-9A long-range anti-aircraft missiles supported by two vertical-launch system (VLS) grids each containing 32 cells, and YJ-18 or YJ-83 anti-ship cruise missiles. The Type 052D destroyers are also equipped with a Dragon Eye Type 346A multipurpose phased array radar, as well as depth and towed array sonar devices.

With a low radar signature, the destroyer can lead Chinese naval strike groups in anti-submarine, anti-air and anti-ship operations.

It’s anti-ship capabilities have earned it the nickname “carrier killer.” Type 052D destroyers are referred to as “Chinese Aegis” or “Heavenly Shields of the Chinese Nation.”

The first four Type 052D destroyers commissioned into the PLAN were the Kunming, Changsha, Hefei, and Yinchuan. Like the Xining, these four ships were produced by Jiangnan Shipyard Group Co., Ltd.

The first four destroyers were commissioned into the South Sea Fleet, while the Xining has been sent to the North Sea Fleet, which operates out of Qingdao.

While China has only commissioned five Type 052D guided-missile destroyers, it has successfully developed 12 missile destroyers which will be commissioned between now and 2019.

“These modern, high-end combatants will likely provide increased weapons stores and overall flexibility as surface action groups venture more frequently into blue water in the coming years,” a 2015 Office of Naval Intelligence assessment of the PLAN’s capabilities revealed.

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Ryan Pickrell