Type 052C/052D Class Destroyers


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The Guilin, a Type 052D guided missile destroyer newly commissioned into the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) South Sea Fleet, participated in a live-fire exercise at the start of 2022, with analysts saying on Thursday that the warship can rapidly achieve initial operational capability.

A destroyer detachment affiliated with the navy of the PLA Southern Theater Command recently organized a series of intensive drills under realistic combat scenarios, in which a flotilla consisting of the Guilin, the Hengyang and the Huangshan practiced courses including the actual use of weapons and the joint search and attack on submarines, js7tv.cn, a video news website affiliated with the PLA, reported on Tuesday.

This is the first time that an official media report has confirmed that the Guilin has entered service with the PLA Southern Theater Command Navy.

During the exercise, the three warships rapidly changed directions and speeds while sailing and formed attack formations, with the Guilin firing the first shot and accurately hitting the target, after which the Hengyang followed up with free attacks, the report said.

The report shows that a Type 052D destroyer, which is the latest variant often referred to as the Type 052DL that is equipped with an anti-stealth radar and an extended helicopter flight deck, was involved in the exercise.

Since both the Hengyang and the Huangshan are known to be Type 054A guided missile frigates, observers said that this Type 052D must be the only other participating ship, the Guilin.

"We insisted on a hard and strict standard of realistic combat in this highly intensive maritime exercise, and focused on the enhancement of the quality and results of the training," Captain Guo Wei, the commander of the Guilin, said in the js7tv.cn report.

"The drills set aerial, underwater and surface targets, and our tactics were tested in live-fire practice," Guo said.

The report indicates that the Guilin has or is about to achieve initial operational capability, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Thursday.

Foreign media outlets have speculated that the Guilin entered service in the second half of 2021, and if so, the destroyer is becoming combat-ready very fast, the expert said.

The Lhasa, the second Type 055 10,000 ton-class large destroyer of the PLA Navy that entered service in March 2021, also recently conducted intensive maritime drills. Experts said the warship has achieved operational capability and is expected to join important missions this year.

The report by js7tv.cn also mentioned recent exercises by other naval branches, including reconnaissance, assault and logistics drills by the Marine Corps from the northern to the southern coastlines, and low-altitude flight and surface target attack drills by naval H-6G and H-6J bombers.
 

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