With the priority of naval modernization, with the ambition to become a “blue water navy”, in recent years, the Chinese Navy has continuously commissioned large warships, including the Type 052C destroyer.

Type 052C is a class of guided missile destroyers of the People’s Liberation Army Navy. The Type 052C is equipped with both active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and long-range air defense missiles, making it the first Chinese warship with area air defence capability. The class consists of two ships, Lanzhou and Haikou, which were laid down at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai in 2002 and commissioned in 2004 and 2005, respectively. A total of 6 ships of this class will be built.

The Type 052C shares the same hull design with the Type 052B destroyer. In which stealth features are focused. Type 052C mainly uses Chinese systems derived from earlier foreign technology. Earlier Type 052 and Type 052B destroyers used a mixture of Russian and Chinese systems.

Type 052C is armed with 48 surface-to-air missiles, the naval version of HQ-9, with a range of 55 nautical miles. The missiles are cold launched from eight revolver-type vertical launchers, with six missiles per launcher. There are also eight YJ-62 anti-ship missiles, with a range of 150 nautical miles, guided by the Type 730 fire control radar.

So the question is, what rank is the Type 052C in the world’s navies? If in Europe, the Type 052C is of course a destroyer, equivalent to the largest surface ships in this continent. In Asia, it can only be a second-class destroyer, compared to Korea or Japan.

Today’s navies of European nations, mainly use small and medium-sized destroyers, but are all equipped with four-sided active electronic phased array radars, applying the most advanced shipbuilding technologies. But whether it’s a destroyer or a frigate, the displacement is not too large. For example the British Type 45 and the French Horizon, which are essentially destroyers with a displacement of about 7,000 to 8,000 tons; Meanwhile, China’s Type 052C also has a displacement of 7,000 tons.

The role of European destroyers is basically the same, mainly anti-aircraft. They all have 48 vertical launch cells, equivalent to China’s Type 052C destroyers. In the Asia-Pacific, there are many larger destroyers than the 052C class, such as the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, Japan’s Maya-class destroyers, or South Korea’s Sejong the Great. All of them have a displacement of 10,000 tons. There are also large Russian warships, but they are relatively old, and were all built during the Soviet era. As can be seen, East Asia is one of the more sensitive regions in the world.

The 052C destroyer is currently only ranked 2nd among China’s surface ships, and is not on the Chinese Navy’s list of continued development. Currently, the Chinese navy has Type 052D and Type 055 destroyers. This shows that the 052C destroyer is just a transitional product of the Chinese Navy; It shows China’s ambition for surface fleet development. In terms of combat ability, how does Type 052C rank in the world naval map? In theory, weapons require advanced features and enough numbers to overwhelm the enemy; Thus, both of the above factors, the Type 052C is not impressive.


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