Images have emerged of a Chinese Type 052D (Luyang III)-class destroyer fitted with what appears to be an anti-ship missile countermeasures system.
The photographs, which were taken during the nine-day 'Sea Guardian 2020' maritime exercise between the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and the Pakistan Navy (PN), show that the destroyer Yinchuan (pennant number 175) has been modified, with a pair of tubes installed on each side of the hangar roof, which appear to be roughly 500 mm in diameter and perhaps 2 m in length.
The system is similar in appearance to the US Navy's (USN's) Mk 59 decoy launch system, which can deploy an expendable inflatable decoy designed to seduce an incoming anti-ship missile. The Mk 59 was first fitted to Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage in late 2013.
The joint 'Sea Guardian 2020' exercise, which ended on 14 January, involved four PLAN surface vessels, two PN frigates and two missile boats, together with embarked helicopters and a total of about 120 marines.
The exercise was held in two parts, with shore-side briefings followed by a 72-hour phase at sea.
At the outset of the exercise the PLA-sponsored ChinaMil.com.cn website commented that the exercise was aimed at "enhancing the capabilities of the two navies to jointly cope with maritime terrorism and crime", adding that the manoeuvres had "nothing to do with the regional situation" and were not targeted at any third party.
It also reported that during the concluding debrief Senior Captain Ye Dan, commander of the Chinese naval fleet, had commented that "the first actual troop submarine rescue exercise at sea greatly improved the emergency underwater rescue capabilities of the two navies".
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