|On March 21, 2014, China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) commissioned the first of its Luyang III (Type 052D) class guided missile
destroyers. The Kunming, pennant number 172, appears to be an improved Luyang II (Type 052C) class destroyer, particularly in terms of design,
weapons and sensors. Changsa, pennant number 173, is the second ship in this class and it is currently undergoing sea trials. She is expected to be
commissioned in 2015, if not earlier. Another eight ships are currently planned.
The Type 052D is similar in layout to the earlier Type 052C, but there are some changes. The Type 052D superstructure slopes inward at a greater
angle, providing better stealth. The helicopter hangar on the Type 052D is moved to the center, as opposed to being on the left as on the Type 052C.
A pair of enclosed boat/raft launching systems was added, with one on each side of the helicopter hangar. The ship can accommodate a crew of 280
and carry up to two Harbin Zhi-9A Haitun or Kamov Ka-28 Helix helicopters on its flight deck.
The armament of the Type 052D is improved compared to the previous class. The Type 052D has a brand new vertical launching system (VLS) for
surface-to-air missiles, cruise missiles, anti-submarine missiles, and anti-ship missiles. The Type 052D carries the new single barrel Type H/PJ38
130mm gun, which replaces the Type H/PJ87 100 mm gun on the Type 052C. It is also fitted with a Type 730 30mm CIWS, a FL-3000N launcher
with 24 missiles and four ASW Multiple Launch Rocket System launchers with 18 rockets each.