The Type 052D (Luyang III-class) is a guided-missile destroyer in the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Surface Force of China and one of the more important naval assets available to the service. The Type 052D is a slight redesign of a series of warships that began with the earlier Type 052 (Luhu-class) followed by the Type 052B (Luyang I-class) and Type 052C (Luyang II-class) models - the line growing in both capability and in number. Currently (2020), the Type 052D design is represented by over 25 planned vessels of the group with 16 of these having reached active service and the rest being fitted out as such. Among their number is CNS Hohhot (161),
CNS Honhot was formally commissioned into service with the PLAN in 2019 and maintains an active status today (2020), being assigned to the South Sea Fleet.
The vessel is of all-modern design, utilizing the latest available Chinese stealth technology, weapons, and sensors/processing systems. The warship displaces in the 7,500 ton range, has a bow-to-stern length of 528 feet, a beam measuring 56 feet, and a draught down to 20 feet. The propulsion scheme is of COmbined Diesel-Or-Gas, better known as CODOG, which enables the drive system to operate through either engine type to conserve fuel and make the ship more efficient depending on the action required (general cruising or dashing). Drive power is to two shafts astern which, all told, provide the class with speeds near the 30 knot range.
Aboard is a crew complement of about 280 and installed systems include Type 346 AESA (Active, Electronically-Scanned Array) and Type 518 L-Band long-range air-search radar fits. Beyond this is a variable depth sonar system and a towed array giving the warship capability against targets in the air, on the water, or undersea.
Armament, at the heart of any destroyer, revolves around a 64-cell Vertical Launching System (VLS) housing HHQ-9 Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM), YJ-18 Surface-to-Surface Missile (SSM), and CY-5 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) solutions. A 24-cell HQ-10 short-ranged SAM system carries additional anti-aircraft weaponry. Conventional armament includes a single 130mm-armed turreted deck gun over the forecastle as well as 2 x Type 1130 Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs).
Over the stern of the ship is a combination helipad/hangar deck area which provides full service to a pair of medium-utility helicopters navalized for over-water service. These aircraft can further be equipped for Search and Rescue (SAR), resupply, MEDEVAC, and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) / anti-ship sorties as needed by the service.
Beyond this, the vessel exudes a sleek, all-modern appearance comparable to Western ship design. The forecastle is relatively unobstructed and stepped towards the bridge superstructure. The turreted deck gun sits over the forecastle with the 64-cell VLS directly aft. Aft of this is the elevated bridge section which also integrates the enclosed main mast works and its associated sensors, communications systems, and radar arrays. The smoke funnels are of low profile, enclosed design and seated amidships. Aft of this is the aft structure which continues the unbroken hull line towards the hangar area. A SAM launcher is installed over this housing. The aft section of the warship steps down to reveal the helicopter landing pad.
CNS Hohhot (161) has seen considerable service in the South China Sea to date as it has been featured in several PLAN press releases. The ship has the capability to operate independently or as part of the main fighting fleet with equal lethality and serves as a deterrence to Western actions in the region. its shallow draught also allows it to support amphibious operations be being stationed offshore and engaging aerial and inland threats with its variable weapons array.
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