The Chinese Type 052D destroyer class is, in itself, a symbol of Beijing's new ambitions for naval supremacy. 157m long for a 7000 tonne gauge in its initial version, the Luyan-IIIs as identified by NATO, indeed use a variety of detectors and weapon systems that have nothing to envy to the best western naval surface combat units. Thus, the building carries a Type 346 radar with active AESA antennas for the engagement of aerial targets and the control of anti-aircraft missiles HHQ-9, whose range could reach 400 km and which would have performance in the American AEGIS system which equips the Ticonderoga cruisers and the A. Burke destroyer. Added to this is a UHF Type 518 radar for long-range detection, more effective in particular against stealth planes due to resonance phenomena, a bow sonar, a towed sonar at variable depth, a 100 mm gun, in CIWS and 64 missiles contained in as many vertical silos.
Of the 32 Type 052D destroyers planned, 28 have already been launcheds, and 14 are in service. It is precisely from the 14th unit, the Zibo, that the destroyer has been modified, to respond to changes in the tactical situation with which the ships may be confronted. The main change relates to lengthening of the hull, going from 157 to 161m, and this in order to increase the size of the aviation hangar which, until now, could only receive a medium helicopter of the Z-9 type, a local version of the French Dauphin. In 2019, the Chinese Navy began to perceive the first Z-20 helicopters, close to American Sea Hawks, heavier and more efficient than the Z-9, which is why Type 052D destroyers saw their hangar lengthened, resulting in the 4 meter lengthening of the hull.
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