Type 051B (NATO reporting name: Luhai class) is the multirole missile destroyer commissioned by the PLA Navy in 1999, with only one hull ever constructed. The first-of-class DDG-167 Shenzhen was the largest surface vessel serving with the PLA Navy at the time of its introduction, and remained the most advanced Chinese indigenous surface combatant until more advanced designs were introduced in the mid-2000s.
Construction of the first and only hull of Type 051B 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. Type 051B immediately attracted great attention, being the largest surface combatant ever introduced by the PLA Navy and the first Chinese warship to have adopted the sloped-side hull design to reduce the ship’s cross-section profile.
Type 051B was the first Chinese indigenous warship to have been incorporated with radar cross-section reduction features, including 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 are inherited by the following-on indigenous destroyers in the PLA Navy.
Despite the various speculations about a vertical launch system (VLS) or possible integration of Russian-made systems, Type 051B turned out to be much less impressive in its weapon and radar configuration. The destroyer’s air defence system consisted of only an 8-cell HHQ-7 short-range SAM launcher and four dual 76-mm AAA guns, almost identical to that of the previous Type 052 destroyer. Due to the lack of high-power gas turbine or diesel technology, Type 051B reverted to the older steam turbine propulsion.
Nonetheless, Type 051B was the most advanced indigenous surface combatant at the time of its introduction. The first-of-class DDG-167 Shenzhen was launched in October 1997 and began its sea trial in October 1998. The destroyer was officially commissioned by the PLA Navy South Sea Fleet as its flagship in February 1999.
DDG-167 Shenzhen participated the PLA Navy’s first goodwill visit to Africa in 2000, and the first visit to Europe in 2001. In 2004, the destroyer received a mid-life modernisation refit, with its original 100 mm main gun replaced by the improved Type 79A dual 100-mm gun. In 2007, the destroyer became the first PRC warship to visit 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.
The primary surface strike weapon system is the YJ-83 sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missile. Four quadruple launchers are installed at the mid-ship position. The missile uses active radar-homing to deliver a 165 kg warhead to a range in excess of 180 km.
The main air defence weapon is an 8-cell HHQ-7 short-range SAM system, designed to engage aircraft in all-weather, day/night conditions at a maximum range of 8—12 km with line-of-sight guidance. The missile also has limited capability to intercept sea-skimming anti-ship missiles at a much closer range (4—6 km).
A Type 79A (PJ-33) dual-barrel 100-mm/56-calibre gun is installed on the bow deck, in front of the SAM launcher. The gun is capable of firing 15 kg shells at a rate of 18 rounds per minute to a range of 22 km.
For air defence the frigate is equipped with four Type 76A dual-barrel 37-mm AAA guns, capable of firing 1.42 kg shells at a rate of 180 rounds per minute to a range of 8.5 km against airborne targets.
The destroyer is fitted with two triple-324 mm torpedo launchers, which is used to launch the Yu-7 (copy of the U.S. Mk46 Mod1) anti-submarine torpedo. The Yu-7 carries a 45 kg to engage underwater target at a speed of 43 kt, and has a maximum range of 7.3 km.
- 1x Type 360S (also known as SR60, E/F-band) for air and surface search;
- 1x Type 381 Rice Screen (G-band) for 3D air search;
- 1x Type 517H-1 Knife Rest (A-band) for 2D long-range air search;
- 1x Type 345 (also known as MR35, J-band) for HQ-7 SAM fire-control;
- 1x Type 344 (also known as MR34, I/J-band) for YJ-83 SSM and 100-mm main gun fire-control;
- 2x Type 347G (also known as EFR-1) Rice Bowl (I-band) for 37-mm AAA fire-control.
- 2x Racal Decca RM-1290 (I-band) for navigation.
SRW210A intercept and jammer, radar warning receiver, IFF, and two Type 946 (PJ46) 15-barrel chaff/decoy rocket launchers.
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 optronic directors, satellite communications (SATCOM), and datalink.
The helicopter deck at the stern has a single landing spot for a medium size helicopter such as Harbin Z-9C. The deck is fitted with the helicopter handling system. A fully equipped hangar accommodates two helicopter.
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.
2015 Modernisation Refit
In 2015, DDG-167 Shenzhen was spotted undergoing a modernisation refit at Zhanjiang naval base. It was reported that 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 four Type 76A dual 37-mm AAA guns with two H/PJ-11 eleven-barrelled 30-mm CIWS, a Type 382 radar replacing the original Type 381, and the Type 364 targeting radar.
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)
|Shenzhen||167||Dalian||South||16 October 1997||Feb 1999||–|