Type 051B Luhai Class

Type 051B (NATO code name: Luhai class) is the multirole missile destroyer introduced in 1999, with only one hull ever constructed. The first-of-class Shenzhen (167) was the largest surface combatant ever commissioned by the PLA Navy at the time of its introduction. Despite its increase in size and displacement, the destroyer did not feature any significant improvement in weapon systems and sensors.

Type: Multirole missile destroyer (DDG). Designer: CSIC China Ship Design & Research Centre (701 Institute). Builders: CSIC Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co., Ltd. IOC: 1999. Number: 1

Programme

Construction of the first Type 051B destroyer began in December 1995, but most observers were not aware of the existence of the programme until early 1998, when a Japanese magazine revealed photos of the destroyer stationed at Dalian Shipyard waiting for system installation. The Type 051B immediately attracted great attention, being the largest surface combatant and the first Chinese-built warship to have adopted a new hull design for reduced radar cross-section profile.

The Type 051B destroyer has a streamlined hull with slightly sloped sides and superstructure, two solid masts with fewer protruding electronic sensor arrays, ‘cleaner’ deck with less weapon systems piled together, and two funnels with infrared signatures reduction devices. These features have also been inherited by the following-on Chinese indigenous destroyers. However, the destroyer’s systems were much less impressive, featuring only a HHQ-7 short-range SAM launcher, four dual 76-mm AAA guns, eight YJ-83 AShM launchers, and a steam turbine propulsion.

The first-of-class Shenzhen (167) was launched in October 1997 and began sea trial in October 1998. The destroyer was officially commissioned by the PLA Navy South Sea Fleet as its flagship in early 1999. Shenzhen participated the PLA Navy’s first goodwill visit to Africa in 2000, and the first visit to Europe in 2001. In 2007, the destroyer became the first PLA warship to have visited Japan. Between April and August 2009, the destroyer was deployed to the Gulf of Aden as part of the Chinese naval task force for counterpiracy operations.

In 2015, Shenzhen was spotted undergoing a modernisation refit at Zhanjiang Naval Base. The refit included some significant improvements in weapon and sensors, including the replacement of the original HHQ-7 SAM launcher with a 32-cell vertical launch system (VLS) for the HHQ-16 medium-range SAM; the replacement of the YJ-83 ASCM with the supersonic YJ-12; the replacement of the four Type 76A dual 37-mm AAA guns with two H/PJ-11 eleven-barrelled 30-mm CIWS; the replacement of the Type 381A radar with the Type 382 radar; and the addition of the Type 364 radar.

Design

Air Defence

As part of the modernisation refit, the original HHQ-7 SAM launcher on the bow deck of the Shenzhen was replaced by a 32-cell VLS for the HHQ-16 air-defence missile. The HHQ-16 is the naval variant of the land-based HQ-16 surface-to-air missile, jointly developed with Russia based on the 9M38 series of missiles that form part of the Russian Almaz-Antey Shtil system China purchased for use on its Sovremenny class (Project 956E/956EM) and the Type 052B (Luyang class) destroyers, with features of the improved 9M317 missile. Using a semi-active radar-homing guidance, the missile has an operational range of about 40 km, though this has been extended to 70 km on an improved variant HQ-16B.

For short-range air defence, there are two indigenous Type 730 close-in weapon systems (CIWS) installed at the mid-ship position on either side of the bridge. Each CIWS consists of the H/PJ-12 7×30 mm gun, H/LJP-349 fire-control radar, Type 4 electro-optical director (EOD), all incorporated in a single turret complex. Target acquisition is provided by the H/LJQ-364 radar installed on top of the bridge. The seven-barrelled H/PJ-12 gun has a firing rate of 4,200 rounds/min, and is fed from a 640-round box inside the turret. It has a maximum firing range of 3,500 m against aircraft and 2,500 m against anti-ship missile.

Anti-Surface

Shenzhen was originally armed with the YJ-83 subsonic sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM). As part of the modernisation refit, these appear to have been replaced by the new ramjet-powered supersonic YJ-12 ASCM, with four 2-cell launchers installed at midship. The YJ-12, also known as CM-302 in its export name, employs a ramjet engine to cruise at supersonic speed Mach 2—3 to a maximum range of 280—400 km. The missile utilises an inertial guidance system coupled with Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) input.

The main gun on the bow deck is an indigenous H/PJ-33B (Type 79B) dual-100 mm gun, which can be used against surface targets as well as slow-flying air targets. The gun can fire 31.5 kg rounds at a rate of 25—30 rounds/min to a maximum range of 22.5 km and a maximum altitude of 15,000 m. The gun is operated either semi-automatically or manually.

Anti-Submarine Warfare

The Type 052B has two Type 7424 triple-barrel 324 mm torpedo launchers (B.515S copy) for the Yu-7 active/passive acoustic-homing anti-submarine torpedoes. The Yu-7 carries a 45 kg warhead and has a maximum range of 7.3 km and a maximum speed of 28 knots. The depth of search/attack is 6—400 m.

The four H/RJZ-726-4 18-barrel (3×6 arrangement) chaff/decoy launchers on the aft deck can also be used to fire ASW rockets if necessary.

Radar

1x H/LJQ-382 (Russian Fregat-M2EM ‘Top Plate’ copy) 3D air search, E-band

4x Chinese copy of the Russian MR90 (‘Front Dome’) SAM targeting, F-band

1x H/LJP-344 main gun fire-control, I/J-band

1x H/LJQ-364 CIWS target acquisition and air/sea search, G/H-band

2x H/LJP-349 CIWS fire-control, J-band (as part of the Type 730 CIWS)

2x Type 4 electro-optical director (EOD) CIWS fire-control (as part of the Type 730 CIWS)

2x Racal Decca RM-1290 navigation, I-band

Unknown type hull-mounted medium-frequency, active/passive search and attack

Countermeasures

H/RJZ-726 active/passive ECM suite consisting of interceptor and jammer

4x H/RJZ-726-4 18-barrelled 122 mm decoy flare/chaff launcher

Command & Control

The ship has an indigenous combat data system ZJK-4-3A to integrate various weapons and sensors onboard. The system is said to be capable of tracking and processing several hundred targets simultaneously. Other systems include two OFD-630 electro-optical directors, satellite communications (SATCOM), and datalink.

Aviation

The helicopter deck at the stern has a single landing spot for operating a medium-sized helicopter such as the Harbin Z-9C. The deck is fitted with the helicopter handling system. A fully equipped hangar accommodates two helicopters. The Z-9C can be armed with a low-frequency dipping sonar system and Yu-7 anti-submarine torpedoes.

Propulsion

The ship is powered by two indigenous 453B steam turbines rated at 94,000 hp (70 MW) sustained. Auxiliary propulsions include two Chinese indigenous diesels rated at 8,840 hp (6.59 MW) sustained. The destroyer has 2 shafts with CP propellers, with a maximum speed of 31 knots.

Specifications

Displacement:......6,100 t (full load)
Length:............153 m
Beam:..............16.5 m
Draft:.............6.00 m
Speed..............31 knots
Range:.............12,000 nautical miles at 18 kt
Crew:..............250 (40 officers)

Ship List

Name No. Builder Fleet Launch Comm Decomm
Shenzhen 167 Dalian South 16 October 1997 Feb 1999

Image Gallery

References

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