PLA’s 4th improved Type 052D destroyer makes maiden appearance in maritime exercise
Published: Mar 30, 2021 11:36 PM

The Suzhou (Hull 132), an improved version of the Type 052D guided missile destroyer attached to a destroyer taskforce affiliated with the People's Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command Navy, conducts maritime exercises in an undisclosed sea region together with Sovremenny-class destroyers Taizhou (Hull 138) and Hangzhou (Hull 136). Photo: Screenshot from the PLA Daily


The fourth improved Type 052D guided missile destroyer of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy made its first appearance in a maritime exercise after its recent commissioning, as Chinese analysts praised the Chinese warships' speed in gaining combat capabilities.

The destroyers Taizhou, Hangzhou and Suzhou, attached to a destroyer taskforce affiliated with the PLA Eastern Theater Command Navy, recently conducted a series of scenario-based combat exercises in an undisclosed sea region, the PLA Daily reported on Monday.

More than a dozen of training objectives were completed, with officers' commanding abilities and the ships' coordinated combat capabilities increased, the report said.

Video footage released by the PLA Daily report shows that the Suzhou is an improved version of the Type 052D destroyer, Chinese military observers pointed out, noting that this is the first public appearance of the ship in maritime exercises.

On February 11, the PLA Navy's official Sina Weibo account released a video that mentioned a warship named after Suzhou, in East China's Jiangsu Province, without any more details or additional footage of the ship to be able to identify it. This means that the Suzhou was likely already commissioned at that time, analysts said.

China has built three consignments of Type 052D destroyers and while the first two batches are only slightly different in appearance, the ships from the third lot are equipped with antistealth radars and extended helicopter landing decks. The Suzhou is part of this third lot,, a Shanghai news website, reported on Monday.

At least four of the improved Type 052D destroyers are known to the general public to have entered service, namely the Zibo, the Tangshan, the Huainan and the Suzhou, said.

The participation of these new ships in maritime exercises show that they are quickly gaining combat capabilities and foreign speculation that China's speed to train personnel cannot match the building of warships are false, Chinese analysts said.

Back in August 2020, China launched its 25th Type 052D destroyer and eighth Type 055 large destroyer, media reported, noting that many are still being equipped or are in sea trial phase and not commissioned yet. 

The maritime exercise allows troops to try their adaptation to operating in combat zones and also demonstrates the PLA's strength and deterrence, Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times on Tuesday

Other PLA Navy ships, like the more powerful Type 055 large destroyers and aircraft carriers, will also hold similar exercises, Xu said.