Home > Naval Forces > Luhai class

Luhai class

Guided missile destroyer

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

The unique DDG-167 Shenzhen destroyer is China's first warship to incorporate stealth features

Country of origin China
Entered service 1999
Crew 250 men
Sea endurance ~ 90 days
Dimensions and displacement
Length 153 m
Beam 16.5 m
Draught 6 m
Displacement, standard ~ 5 500 tons
Displacement, full load 6 600 tons
Propulsion and speed
Speed 31 knots
Range 26 000 km at 14 knots
Propulsion Two steam boilers and two steam turbines, generating 94 000 shp, delivering power to 2 shafts
Helicopters 2 x Ka-28 or Z-9C
Artillery 1 x twin 100-mm gun, 4 x 37-mm anti-aircraft gun
Missiles 1 x 8-cell SAM launcher, 4 x 4-cell AShM launcher
Torpedoes 2 x triple-tube launchers for 324-mm torpedoes
Other 2 x 240-mm ASW rocket launchers


   Built to serve as a proof of concept vessel for new technology as much as an operational warship, the sole Type 051B destroyer was China's first warship to incorporate low observability features into its exterior. Interestingly, this vessel was also one of the last steam-powered destroyers ever built.

   The Type 051B Destroyer was developed as a technology testbed, to serve as a stepping stone to modernizing the PLAN (the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy). It was designed by the China Warship Design Institute, under a team headed by Pan Jingfu. Mr. Jingfu's team also designed the preceding Type 052 destroyer (the "Luhu class"), and also the succeeding Type 052C Destroyer (the "Luyang class"). Being a mostly experimental design, only one was authorized.

   The DDG-167 was laid-down in the Dalian shipyard in May 1996. She was launched in October of 1997 and commissioned in February of 1999 as the Shenzhen. This vessel cost 2 billion Yuan to construct, and at the time of her completion, she was the largest and heaviest fleet combatant ever built in China. The Shenzhen was assigned to the South Sea Fleet, where she remains committed to this day.

   The Shenzhen's design received the NATO codename "Luhai", probably under the expectation that more vessels of her type would follow. It was in fact once assumed by the West that a second Type 051B Destroyer was constructed, named the DDG-168 Yantai, but this proved false. Not only was the assumed class of DDG-168 wrong, so was the name --- that hull number belonged to the Guangzhou, the first vessel of the Type 052B ("Luyang") class.

   Though the Shenzhen had a relatively uneventful development, construction, and career, PLAN was nonetheless dissatisfied with her. She was completed at a time when the PLAN's priorities strongly emphasized an increase in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and anti-aircraft firepower over preceding warships, but these were no better on the Shenzhen than that of the Luhu class. Her anti-ship missile battery was extremely heavy, but her ASW weapons and SAM battery were only enough for self-defense, not the fleet defense capability the PLAN wanted. Adding injury to insult, the Shenzhen frequently suffered engine trouble, as China was also never able to produce a destroyer steam powerplant as reliable as those of the West. Thus considered a failure, the Shenzhen's key attributes were abandoned in the subsequent 052C destroyers, with the obvious exception of her stealth features.

   The Shenzhen is identifiable by the following combination of features. She has a flared hull with a gently-raked bow, a knuckle that begins at the aft end of the forecastle and continues to the transom stern. A twin gun turret is mounted atop the forecastle, with a missile launcher superfiring over it. The forward superstructure is two-tiered, with the lower tier from fore to aft carrying a SAM launcher, the upper tier, and the forward funnel; the upper tier is the conning tower, which carries the bridge and a short, three-stepped sensor mast. The middle superstructure is one deck tall, aside from the aft mast and funnel, and two sets of missile container-launchers; half of the container-launchers face directly starboard, while the other half face directly port, and they are wedged tightly between the forward funnel and the low, steep, pyramidal aft mast. The funnels are pyramidal with raked tops, and mounted in an "en echelon" pattern, with the forward funnel offset to the port side and the aft funnel offset to the starboard side. The aft superstructure is slightly lower than the forward superstructure, but larger overall; it houses a helicopter hangar and is topped with a battery of four anti-aircraft gun turrets, and their fire control radar. The fantail is topped with a small helipad. The side walls of the fore and aft superstructure are set very close to the sides of the hull, given the Shenzhen a slab-sided appearance. The clipper bow has a bulged sonodome under the waterline, and stabilization is provided by two small stabilizers and two small chines.

   The Shenzhen's sensors consist of a Type 381C ("Rice Shield") 3D air search G-band radar, a Type 360S air and surface search E/F-band radar (a Chinese copy of Thomson-CSF DRBV-15 Sea Tiger radar), a Type 345 I/J-band fire control radar (a Chinese copy of Thomson CSF Castor-II radar), two I-band Type 347G ("Rice Lamp") radars, two Racal RM-1290 I-band navigation radars, a Type 343G G/H-band gunnery radar for the 100-mm turret, two I-band Type 347G ("Rice Lamp") gunnery radars for the 37-mm anti-aircraft battery, a DUBV-23 hull medium-frequency sonar, and DuBV-32 VDS towed array sonar. It has an ECM suite that includes a SRW210A jammer, an unknown RWR, an unknown IFF system, and two Type 946 (PJ46) 15-barrel chaff mortars. Also included are a ZKJ-6 combat data system, an HN-900 data link, and an SNTI-240 SATCOM system.

   The propulsion system consists of two Type 453 boilers, supplying steam to two geared steam turbines, driving two shafts with 94 000 shp. The fuel bunkerage of the Shenzhen has not been published, but it is presumably substantial --- she reportedly has a range of 26 000 km (14 000 nutical miles) (historically, most destroyers didn't manage more than a third of that!). There are two rudders; the minimum turning circle of the Shenzhen is unknown.

   The main battery of the Shenzhen is a Type 79 twin 100-mm/L56 dual-purpose gun turret. This weapon traverses to +/- 225 degrees at up to 20 degrees/second, and elevates through -5 / +85 degrees at up to 25 degrees/second. It fires 15.6 kg projectiles at up to 50 rounds/minute (both guns combined), out to a maximum range of 22 241 m and an anti-aircraft ceiling of 10 000 m. This weapon is effective against warships and shore targets, and has some anti-aircraft capability as well, but has very poor performance against missiles, and can't compete with more modern dual-purpose guns.

   The anti-aircraft battery consists of four Type 76A twin 37-mm automatic cannon turrets, all mounted atop the aft superstructure. The Type 76A traverses 360 degrees and elevates through -10 to +85 degrees, both at unpublished rates. It fires 0.73 kg projectiles at a combined rate of fire of 750 rounds/minute, with a maximum range of 8 400 m, and an effective anti-aircraft ceiling of 4 000 m. This weapon is highly effective against aircraft and small watercraft, and can defend against sea-skimming anti-ship missiles (though it has a low pK ratio against these). The Type 76A does has significant limitations however, including its reliance on top-feeding 10-round clips (much like the 40-mm/L56 Bofors gun), and its relatively short range compared to many other peer anti-aircraft guns.

   An 8-cell launcher for the HHQ-7 SAM (a Chinese naval variant of the Crotale) system is fitted, with a minimum range of 500 m, a maximum range of 15 000m, and a flight speed of Mach 2.3. The HHQ-7 is radio-command guided, with electro-optical tracking, and carries a 15 4 kg HE-FRAG warhead. This guidance system enables the missile to be steered directly onto the target (even a surface target), and as no lock is required, the HHQ-7 can be launched the instant both it and the fire control radar are active. However, the reach is short, its SACLOS interface requires the user to fixate on a single target (no matter how many missiles are being guided), and radio jamming essentially renders the guidance system inoperable. Though arguably the greatest weakness of this system is its short range; the HHQ-7 can only be guided on line-of-sight, and because it has a short reach, this weapon is inadequate for fleet defense. It is thus purely a short-range, self defense weapon.

   The Shenzhen's anti-ship missile battery is exceptionally heavy, with 16 YJ-83 missiles in four quadruple-tube launch containers. The YJ-83 is an active radar homing missile with terminal guidance, a 190 kg HE-FRAG warhead, a Mach 0.9 flight speed, and an effective range of 80 km. It is autonomous upon launch, and attacks on a sea-skimming flight profile.

   The torpedo battery consists of two Type 7424 rotating triple-tube launchers for the 324-mm Yu-7 torpedo. The Yu-7 is a 235 kg passive acoustic homing torpedo. It steams at 43 knots out to a range of 14 km and a depth of 400 m. It carries a 45 kg warhead. The Yu-7 can also be delivered by the Shenzhen's helicopters.

   In addition to her torpedoes, the Shenzhen also carries two Type 75 anti-submarine rocket launchers. These launch 240 mm rockets bearing 34 kg warheads, out to a maximum range of 1 200 m. Though quite powerful, the Type 75 requires the vessel launching them to creep perilously close to the target; however, it can also be used to bombard nearby land targets.

   The ammunition load includes 16 HHQ-7 SAMs (8 pre-loaded, and 8 spares), 16 YJ-83 anti-ship missiles, and 120 240-mm rockets. The ammunition stowage for the rest of the weapons is unknown, but probably consists of 500 100-mm shells, 16 000 37-mm shells, and 12 Yu-7 torpedoes.

   The aviation facilities of the Shenzhen include a small helipad on the fantail, and an adjoining, very spacious hangar with room for two helicopters. She was originally configured to carry the Z-9C helicopter, but these have since been exchanged for the Ka-28. Fuel and spare parts for the helicopters are carried aboard, and both of these helicopters can be used to deliver the same torpedoes the ship itself launches.

   As of 2016, the Shenzhen has not been involved in any combat operations, but has nonetheless been a visible participant in many fleet exercises, goodwill visits to foreign ports, and even anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.

   Early in 2015, the Shenzhen was spotted at the Zhanjiang naval base, almost stripped bare with all weapons and sensors removed. Speculation ran wild on the internet on what the intended fate of this vessel was; did the PLAN intend to scrap her, mothball her, or refit her? The Chinese government remained silent on their intentions, but observers in December 2015 noticed that the Shenzhen had been moved to a drydock, cleaned-up, and work was being undertaken to refit her after all. A new array of weapons, sensors, and other fixtures are being added, to include a Type 382 Radar and two Type 1130 30-mm CIWS', and it is expected that vertical launch cells for the HQ-16 SAM and a new main gun turret will be added as well.

   The PLAN remains silent on the Shenzhen's future configuration, as well as the intended date of completion.


Related vessels


   Type 051 Destroyer (Luda class): Predecessors of the Luhai class. However, aside from a common project number, the previous Type 051-series are unrelated. Seventeen were built, but most have been retired.

   Type 051C Destroyer (Luzhou class): Shares the basic hull plan of the Type 051B design, but has a modified superstructure and a radically different battery of sensors and weapons. They are essentially half-sisters of the Shenzhen. Two were built.

   Type 052C Destroyer (Luyang II class): Similar to the Type 051C, but much more radically modernized. This design was created by a team under Zhu Yingfu, the successor of Pan Jingfu. Six were built.


Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Shenzhen (DDG-167) 1996 1997 1999

in refit



   Article by BLACKTAIL

   Want to publish your own articles? Visit our guidelines for more information.

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Type 051B class (Luhai class)

Home  Home     Aircraft     Helicopters     Tanks     Armored Vehicles     Artillery     Trucks     Engineering Vehicles     Missiles     Naval Forces     Firearms     |     Contact Us

ARG 2006 - 2017
 www.Military-Today.com Luhai class