China’s Luyang II (Type 052C) guided-missile destroyers are widely considered the first People’s Liberation Army Navy warships with a true air-defense capability. These 7,000-ton surface combatants share lineage with other Type 052 destroyers, including the 5,700-ton 1990s-era Luhu class (Type 052), generally recognized as China’s first modern surface combatant design, and the 6,500-ton Luyang I (Type 052B), which entered service in 2004. But it was the Luyang II that became the first Chinese surface combatant equipped with a phased-array radar and vertical launch system. (For details on the follow-on Luyang III/Type 052D class, see “Combat Fleets,” January 2020.)
The first two (of six total) Luyang IIs, the Lanzhou and Haikou, began construction in 2002 at Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai. They were launched in 2003 and joined the fleet in 2004 and 2005. The other four—the Changchun, Zhengzhou, Jinan, and Xian—entered service between 2013 and 2015. This decade-long delay has been attributed to relocation of the shipyard and the complexity of the warships themselves.
The Luyang II class carries the Type 346 “Dragon Eye” four-panel, multifunction, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. Primary air-defense armament consists of 48 HHQ-9 surface-to-air missiles carried in eight sextuple-round vertical launchers. Six of the launchers are carried forward, while two are farther aft atop the helicopter hangar. Early versions of the HHQ-9 carried by the Type 052C are thought to have a range of roughly 55 nautical miles, while more recent variants can exceed 80 nautical miles. A single 100-mm multipurpose gun is fitted forward, while point defense is supplied by two seven-barrel 30-mm close-in weapon systems.
The destroyers’ antiship arsenal consists of eight YJ-62 cruise missiles in two quad launchers. The YJ-62, also known as C-602, has a range of 150 nautical miles and carries a 661-pound warhead. The Type 052C antisubmarine warfare suite features a hull-mounted sonar and two triple 324-mm torpedo tubes for short-range torpedoes. The ships likely also include accommodation for a towed-array sonar. A helicopter hangar and landing deck are incorporated aft for one Z-9 (license-built copy of Airbus AS365) or Russian-built Ka-28 Helix naval helicopter.
The Type 052C destroyers are roughly 509 feet long, with a 56-foot beam and 20-foot draft. The ships are fitted with two controllable-pitch propellers and powered by two gas turbines and two diesels for combined diesel or gas (CODOG) propulsion, providing a top speed of 30 knots, with a cruising range of 4,500 nautical miles at 15 knots. Each destroyer is operated by a crew of 280 personnel.