Shenzhen (DDG-167) Type 051B destroyer

Santa Rita, Guam (Oct. 22, 2003) — The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) guided missile destroyer Shenzhen (DDG-167) enters Apra Harbor, Guam. The Shenzhen and the oiler Quinghai Hu (AO-885) are making the People’s Republic of China’s first ever port call to Guam.

TYPE 051B LUHAI-CLASS: Consists of only one ship, No.167 Shenzhen

Shenzhen was laid down by Dalian Shipyard in Northeastern China in May 1996. The Shenzhen made the switch from the Luhu-Class’ Diesel-Gas-Turbines to Gas Turbine engines. The Luhai-Class is 2,000 tons larger than the Type 052 destroyer, Luhu-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.

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.

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.

The ZBJ-1 is the PLAN’s fleet command system. It is installed aboard major combatants so they can act as command ships. The first class to receive ZBJ-1 was the Type 051B destroyer but the system proved unwieldy and was dropped until an improved version was fitted aboard Type 052C destroyers and the current Type 052D. The ZBJ-1A supports amphibious task forces and is reputedly installed aboard Type 071 landing platform docks, while the ZBJ-2 is supposed to be used on the aircraft carrier Liaoning.

The sole Type 051B destroyer 167 Shenzhen participated in the PLA Navy’s first goodwill visit to Africa in 2000, the first visit to Europe in 2001 and the first visit to Japan in 2007. In 2004, the ship received its mid-life modernization refit in 2004, with its original 100mm main gun and the HQ-7 air defense missile system being replaced by improved models.

In early 2015, the sole Type 051B destroyer was spotted at the Zhanjiang naval base undergoing work. Initially it was unclear whether this was due to a midlife refit program or decommissioning, but pictures revealed in January 2016 that the ship was being refitted with new systems. For self-defense, the four old Type 76A 37 mm AA guns were replaced with two H/PJ-11 eleven-barreled 30 mm CIWS (export designation Type 1130) that can shoot 10,000 rpm, one covering each side. Anti-aircraft defense is upgraded from the 8-unit HQ-7 with a 10–15 km (6.2–9.3 mi) range to a 32-cell vertical launch system (VLS) in front of the superstructure for 50–60 km (31–37 mi)-ranged HQ-16s, directed by four Type 345 (Front-Dome type) illuminators, increasing SAM coverage by 16 times. The helicopter hangar was modified to carry a single Ka-28 ASW helicopter in place of the original dual Z-9 hanger, and two new mast structures were fitted; a Type 382 Radar on the forward mast and a Type 364 targeting radar (under dome) on the aft mast. The upgrades give the Type 051B weapon and sensor capabilities similar to the Type 054A frigate. The Type 382 replaced the Type 381 singe-faced phased-array radar, and moved from the aft to the forward mast to remove the blind arc it previously exhibited, the quarterdeck was fully enclosed, and new apertures were added in the transom indicating that torpedo decoy and towed array sonar systems have been added; a variable depth sonar has not been installed. The ship completed the weapon systems upgrade in August 2016.

Type 051B (Luhai Class) Missile Destroyer

General characteristics

Displacement: 6,100 tons

Length:  153 m

Beam:    16.5 m

Draught: 6 m


    2 Steam turbines

    94,000 shp (70,100 kW)

Speed:   31 knots (57 km/h; 36 mph)

Range:   14,000 miles

Complement:     250 (40 officers)

Sensors and processing systems:

    Combat data system – ZKJ-6 Information processing system designed by the 709th Institute (Reported speed: 10 Mbit/s)

    Data link: HN-900 (Chinese equivalent of Link 11 A/B, to be upgraded)

    Communication: SNTI-240 SATCOM

    Sea Eagle 3-D air search radar

    Type 360S air/surface search radar

    Type 344 fire-control radar (for 100 mm gun & SSMs)

    Hull mounted sonar

    Towed array sonar


    16 YJ-83 anti-ship missiles

    32 HQ-16 VLS

    1 dual Type 79A 100mm naval gun

    2 Type 1130 CIWS

    6 torpedo tubes

    2 anti-submarine rocket systems

    Before 2015-16 refit:

    16 HQ-7 surface-to-air missiles (replaced by 32 VLS HQ-16)

    4 x 37mm AA guns (replaced by 2 x Type 1130 CIWS)

Aircraft carried:  2 helicopters: (Kamov Ka-28 or Harbin Z-9C)

Aviation facilities:            

    Hangar accommodating 2 helicopters

    Landing platform for one helicopter

    Helicopter landing system

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