In 2003, the first two 052C class destroyers were launched in JiangNan shipyard. These two ships (170 and 171) were commissioned into the South Sea Fleet in 2004 and 2005. Since then, they have been the most advanced and powerful warships in service with PLAN. After these ships joined service, we have been waiting for the next evolution of destroyers to join PLAN. Russia delivered a couple of Type 956 EM battleships shortly afterward, but they really are not as advanced as 052C. After that, 2 051C destroyers were launched in Dalian and commissioned into North Sea Fleet, but they do not have the advanced combat system, multifunctional radar, long range anti-ship missile and more streamlined hull of 052C. As a result of Shanghai World Expo in 2010, JiangNan shipyard was moved to ChangXing Island. We were waiting to see new photos from ChangXing Island to see new DDGs to come out. Finally in 2010, we started seeing photo of a new 052C at the JiangNan shipyard at ChangXing. The third 052C was finally launched in late 2010. We looked carefully at the pictures and did not see any major external change compared to the first two.
After almost 2 years, the third 052C is finally ready to join East Sea Fleet as 150. We see a photo below of what appears to be its last sea trial. The number has yet to be painted, but everything should be set. These will be using the new QC280 gas turbines as opposed to the GT-25000 on the first two 052C.
We also had a boatload of pictures coming out of JiangNan shipyard over a week ago. First, we can see the current status of the 4th and 5th 052C. The 4th 052C might have had its first sea trial already, but it still has plenty of scaffolding, indicating the additional work needed. Both of these ships should join East Sea Fleet in the same flotilla as 150 before end of 2013 (as 151 and 152).
The 6th 052C also launched recently at the shipyard. It looks much further away and launched without much installations. I think it was only launched because newer warships had to be moved into the dry docks (which can only handle two warships of 052C size at the same time). This will probably join ESF as 153 by early 2014. We will have to wait a little bit to see if 5th and 6th 052C have any external differences from the earlier ones.
A little less further along, we have 3 more destroyers under construction in JN shipyard. There are two destroyers in the dry docks as shown below. We can also see the modules of a third one outside. At this point, we don't know if these ships will be like 052Cs or of a new class. It could be the 052D class or a whole new designation.
We have a seen a couple of development on experiment ships that may carry forward for the newer ships. First, we have this new type of multifunctional radar being tested on 891. It looks like an improvement over the current type on 052C.
Another interesting development are these launchers for what appears to be the naval version of CJ-10 LACM. It's quite possible that 052D and future variants will be using tube launched LACM. There have been words on Chinese version of MK-41 in development, but it might not be able to launch something the size of a LACM.