With a long coastline and growing regional aspirations, China has built up a large stock of surface vessels to command nearby waters with an eye on expanding operations outward. As such, the Type 052C-class of guided missile destroyers was born in 2004 with the official launching of the Lanzhou (170). The vessel saw her keel laid down by shipbuilder Changxingdao-Jiangnan in 2002 to which the craft was launched on April 29th, 2003. She was formally commissioned through ceremony in July of 2004 and maintains an active presence in the modern Chinese fleet, actively patrolling as part of the South Sea Fleet. Lanzhou represents the lead ship of her Type 052C-class of Chinese Navy destroyers to which NATO recognizes as the "Luyang II-class". Her sisters include Haikou (171), Changchun (150), the Zhengzhou (151), the Jinan (152) and the Xi'an (153).
Structurally, the Lanzhou is conventional by modern standards, utilizing proven naval stealth measures such as an enclosed pyramidal mast, flushed hull/superstructure side panels and low-profile smoke funnels. The bow deck is largely unobstructed save for the sole turreted deck gun and a missile bay is seated just aft of the gun. The superstructure contains a close-in defense weapon and leads to the bridge - the bridge being easily identified by its large window panes. Communications, sensors and radar arrays are fitted atop the bridge which includes the rear-set main mast. Behind the mast structure are the paired smoke funnels fitted in a side-by-side arrangement. There position is slight ahead or right about midships. A shorter, enclosed mast is fitted aft of the smoke funnels leading to a slightly raised superstructure housing a full service hangar. The stern is made up largely of the helicopter receiving/launch deck of which the vessel carries one.
Lanzhou displaces at 7,000 tons under load and is propelled by a CODOG (COmbined Diesel Or Gas) system, allowing her shape to make headway at 30 knots in ideal conditions and output some 57,000 shaft horsepower. A CODOG arrangement pairs a geared gas turbine (2 x Ukrainian DN80s in this case) with a diesel engine (2 x German MTU Friedrichshafen 12V 1163TB83 series), the gas system attached to a reduction gearbox and feeding into a clutch. The gas turbines provide the needed high speed ("dart") envelope while the diesel engines provide the needed cruise speeds. CODOG systems are less complex than their CODAG (COmbined Diesel And Gas) brethren though more fuel thirsty. Dimensionally, the Lanzhou features a length of 154 meters with a beam of 17 meters and draught of 6 meters.
As a modern naval vessel, the Lanzhou is outfitted with various electronic processing systems. Her primary suite is the Type 348 radar, a Ukrainian-originated system with an operational range of 450 kilometers. It was introduced in 2004 and is paired to the ship's all-important HHQ-9 series missiles. This is followed by the Type 344 series fire control radar, the LR66/TR47C system and the Type 364 close-in defense radar system.
The Lanzhou destroyer is appropriately armed with an array of weaponry to suit the threat in question - aerial, surface or undersea. This includes fixed- and rotary-wing aerial threats as well as cruise missiles, submarines and warships. Her primary armament is 42 x HHQ-9 series surface-to-air missiles held in six individual, seven-shot, vertical launch cells located ahead of the bridge and aft of the deck gun. The HHQ-9 is a medium-to-long-range active radar homing missile locally developed and produced by CPMIEC and introduced in 1997. It features an engagement range out to 200 kilometers with an altitude reach of 98,425 feet and maximum speed of Mach 4.2. The vessel is also equipped for launching up to 8 x YJ-62 anti-ship, surface-to-surface cruise missiles through a pair of quad launchers loaded aft of the second mast. These entered service in 2005 and are also locally manufactured. Each missile sports a 300 kilogram warhead and is powered by a turbojet engine, reaching ranges of 400 kilometers and near-Mach 1 speeds. The deck gun is a 100mm "dual purpose" mounting designed to engage both sea-/land- and aerial-based targets. It can be called on to support amphibious landing operations by engaging inland targets from an offshore firing position. 2 x 30mm Type 730 Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs) allow for engagement of short-range targets and are similar in form and function to the 20mm Phalanx Gatling-type, digitally-controlled weapon systems featured on many American Navy ships. The vessel maintains anti-submarine measures through use of 6 x torpedo tubes. Countermeasures include 4 x 18-tube decoy rocket launchers. The stern flight deck supports 1 x Kamov Ka-27 / Harbin Z-9C Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) or Search And Rescure (SAR) navy helicopter which can be used in conjunction with onboard systems to locate, track and engage enemy submarines and warships.
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