China has commissioned its third type 052D Kunming class destroyer Hefei.
The vessel commissioned by People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is now homeported at Yulin Naval base, AFP reported Monday.
The first vessel of the class, Kunming (hull number 172), was commissioned in March last year. Changsha (hull number 173) , the second Type 052D Destroyer to join the PLAN, was launched just four months after head of the class Kunming but was commissioned much later, in August this year.
Hefei was launched at the Changxing Jiangnan naval shipyard near Shanghai on July 2nd 2013. Contrary to what we published last month, Hefei joined the South Sea Fleet and no the East Sea Fleet.
At least 10 Type 052D Destroyers are expected to be built for the PLAN, most of them (80%) by Changxing Jiangnan naval shipyard near Shanghai. Recent pictures (see below) show more vessels of the class at various stages of completion.
The Type 052D Kunming class is the latest generation of guided-missile destroyer (DDG) of the Chinese Navy. It is based on its predecessor, the Type 052C DDG and likely shares the same hull. However the Type 052D incorporates many improvements in terms of design as well as sensors and weapons fit. This new class of vessel is considered as the Chinese equivalent to the American AEGIS destroyers.