CHINA / MILITARY
PLA commissions upgraded destroyer, naval drills show
Published: Mar 02, 2021 07:33 PM
The guided-missile destroyer Qiqihar (Hull 121) attached to the navy under the PLA Northern Theater Command fires its main gun at mock sea targets during a maritime live-fire training exercise in mid December, 2020. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Zhang Hailong)

The guided-missile destroyer Qiqihar (Hull 121) attached to the navy under the PLA Northern Theater Command fires its main gun at mock sea targets during a maritime live-fire training exercise in mid December, 2020. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Zhang Hailong)



A newly commissioned, upgraded variation of the Type 052D destroyer recently made its public debut in a series of maritime exercises by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, and analysts said more warships of this class are expected to join the service soon.

The PLA Northern Theater Command Navy recently organized eight new-type warships to conduct exercises in the Yellow Sea, with the goal of enhancing the naval officers' emergency commanding capability and the crew members' technical competence, China National Radio (CNR) reported on Monday.

The drills featured comprehensive attack and defense training and lasted five days, the report said.

In the video released with the CNR report, a warship identified as an upgraded variation of the Type 052D guided missile destroyer and painted with hull number 123 was seen for the first time, military observers said, noting that this indicates this new ship has been commissioned into the PLA Navy.

Compared with the original Type 052D, the upgraded version, often informally dubbed the Type 052DL, has an extended helicopter flight deck and is equipped with a new anti-stealth radar, reports said previously.

The CNR report did not give further details on the ship like its name. Observers said it is likely the Huainan, the namesake of a city in East China's Anhui Province.

Replying to an inquiry by a resident on the naming of the Huainan, the local veterans affairs office confirmed in September 2020 on its website that the PLA Northern Theater Command was naming a new-type guided missile destroyer as the Huainan, without explaining the exact type of the ship.

On February 11, the Huainan Daily released a video showing crew members of the Huainan extending Spring Festival greetings to people in the city. The video shows that the Huainan is a Type 052D destroyer, and indicated that the warship was commissioned into the PLA Navy before the report date, analysts said.

The PLA Navy's official Sina Weibo account also released a video on February 11 mentioning a warship named after Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, without elaboration or footage on the ship that makes its type identifiable. Analysts speculate that the Suzhou is also a newly commissioned destroyer, citing the PLA's naval vessels naming regulation.

China has launched many new destroyers over the past few years that are gradually entering naval service, a military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Many of them are still under outfitting work or in sea trial phase, which means more will join the PLA Navy soon to better safeguard China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and development interests, the expert said.

In August 2020, China launched its 25th Type 052D destroyer and eighth Type 055 large destroyer, media reported.


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