Type 051B (Luhai Class) Missile Destroyer
The Type 051B is the multirole missile destroyer built by Dalian Shipyard for the PLA Navy in 1998. Only one hull has been commissioned while the subsequent construction plan was cancelled. The construction of the first-of-class, Shenzhen (167), began at Dalian Shipyard in 1996. Western intelligence became aware of the existence of the destroyer programme in early 1998, when a Japanese magazine first revealed photos of the ship stationed at Dalian Shipyard waiting for system installation. The ship was codenamed by NATO as Luhai class.
The Type 051B programme caught great attention at the time as it was then the largest surface combatant ever built by China. It was also the first Chinese warship to have adopted the sloped-side hull to reduce the ship’s radar cross-section profile. However, when the ship was finally commissioned in late 1998, it became clear that the ship only had very limited improvement in its weapon systems over the previous Chinese indigenous destroyers. For example, despite the earlier speculation that the ship would be equipped with a vertical launch system (VLS) for air defence missile, it turned out to be only equipped with an eight-cell HQ-7 short-range SAM.
167 Shenzhen (Chinese Internet)
Shenzhen completed its sea trial in late 1998 and joined service with the PLA Navy South Sea Fleet shortly after. No subsequent ship was commissioned, though unconfirmed report suggested that a second hull was almost completed before the construction programme was stopped. The unfinished second hull was stationed in Dalian Shipyard for several years before it was finally launched in 2004 to be built as Type 051C (Luzhou class) air defence missile destroyer 115 Shenyang.
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 in 2004, with its original 100mm main gun and the HQ-7 air defence missile system being replaced by improved models.
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.
Type 051B firing YJ-83 anti-ship missiles (Chinese Internet)
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 165kg warhead to a range in excess of 180km.
The main air defence weapon is an 8-cell HongQi-7 (French Thales Crotale copy) short-range SAM system, designed to engage aircraft in all-weather, day/night conditions at a maximum range of 8~12km with line-of-sight guidance. The missile also has limited capability to intercept sea-skimming anti-ship missiles at a much closer range (4~6km).
A Type 79A (PJ-33) dual-barrel 100mm/56-calibre gun is installed on the bow deck, in front of the SAM launcher. The gun is capable of firing 15kg shells at a rate of 18 rounds per minute to a range of 22km.
For air defence the frigate is equipped with four Type 76A dual-37mm anti-aircraft artillery guns, capable of firing 1.42kg shells at a rate of 180 rounds per minute to a range of 8.5km against airborne targets.
The ship is fitted with two triple-324mm 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 45kg to engage underwater target at a speed of 43kt, and has a maximum range of 7.3km.
Stern view of 167 Shenzhen (Chinese Internet)
The ship has a Type 360S (also known as SR60, E/F-band) for air and surface search; a Type 381 Rice Screen (G-band) for 3D air search; a Type 517H-1 Knife Rest (A-band) for 2D long-range air search; a Type 345 (also known as MR35, J-band) for HQ-7 SAM fire-control; a Type 344 (also known as MR34, I/J-band) for YJ-83 SSM and 100mm main gun fire-control; and two Type 347G (also known as EFR-1) Rice Bowl (I-band) for 37mm AAA fire-control. For navigation, the ship has two Racal Decca RM-1290 (I-band).
The ship's electronic warfare suite include the 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 the Russian Kamov Ka-28 Helix, or the indigenous Harbin Z-9C. The deck is fitted with the helicopter handling system. A fully equipped hangar accommodates two helicopter.
The ship may is powered by two indigenous steam turbine engines, which gives a top speed of 31kt.
Last update: 28 February 2009