Beijing Installs Supersonic Missiles on DDG Shenzhen 167 Destroyer

Beijing Installs Supersonic Missiles on South China Sea’s Most Lethal Destroyer

21:58 10.08.2016(updated 13:40 11.08.2016)

The upgraded combat features on board the flagship of the South China Sea fleet impress Western defense analysts, as Beijing threatens to aggressively defend the disputed territories.

China has completed a major weapons upgrade for their Shenzen destroyer, which will return to operations with the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) fleet in the South China Sea amid brewing tensions over the disputed territory, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reported.

The missile system of the Shenzen, Beijing’s only Luhai-class destroyer, was upgraded to a 32-cell vertical launch platform capable of firing medium-range HHQ-16 surface-to-air (SAM) missiles with a range of 19 nautical miles and a maximum speed of 2,148 mph (3457 kph). Defense analysts say the system is comparable to the powerful Russian Gollum/Shtil-2 missile system.

Other combat characteristics added to the ship include four 37 mm twin anti-aircraft guns with two Type 1130 close-in weapon systems, along with upgraded surface and air search radars. The ship’s radar system has also been augmented to remove a blind spot in the previous system’s visible range.

The 6,000-ton destroyer, commissioned in 1999, is unique among modern destroyer classes, as it uses a steam propulsion system and doubles as a helicopter hangar, with space allowing for the landing and takeoff of up to two helicopters.

Prior to the upgrades, the Shenzen served as Beijing’s flagship in the South China Sea, but it remains uncertain whether it will currently remain in the position of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s command ship.

Significant upgrades to what was already China’s most lethal destroyer come as Beijing faces increasing pressure to relax its claims over oil rich South China Sea territories, through which some 40% of the world’s shipborne commerce travels each day.

The recent ruling by the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration is challenged by China, saying that the Hague does not have the jurisdiction to decide upon the case. According to Beijing’s interpretation, China would have had to jointly submit to the dispute for the court’s decision to be enforceable.

Despite China’s explanation, Beijing faces growing pressure from the West, as well as from regional rivals Japan and Australia, that analysts worry could push the regime of Xi Jinping into a corner, increasing the threat of hostilities.

China has warned its people to be prepared to go to war over the South China Sea territory and has further engaged in aggressive statements against both Japan and Australia – the latter of which fell prey to an op-ed by the state-run People’s Daily calling for a military assault on the country.

Since that time, China has deployed combat patrols into the South China Sea and has ramped up its naval war exercises, joined by the Russian Navy, with both countries offering a counterpoint to the increasingly aggressive posture of the Western defense establishment.

Original post


Actually the Chinese ships Sovremenny Class (Type 956) built by Russia are also being upgrading to be fitted with the YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missile that has a speed of Mach 4.

Related post:

PLAN Upgrading its Project 956E Destroyers with VLS & YJ-12A Anti-Ship Missiles

YJ-83 anti-ship missile


The YJ-83 is a long-range anti-ship missile designed to meet the requirements of the PLA Navy (PLAN). The YJ-83 has a range of 150 to 200 kilometers and introduces a data-link to receive target updates from airborne assets such as helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft. The YJ-83 can fly at supersonic speeds (Mach 1.5) during the terminal phase of the flight (approx 15 kilometers). The PLAN is deploying the YJ-83 missile as the standard anti-ship missile onboard frigates and destroyers.


Diameter: 0.36 meter

Length: 6.39 meter (21.0 foot)

Wingspan: 1.22 meter


Max Range: 200 kilometer (108 nautical mile)


Cruise Speed: 0.90 mach (1,076 kph)

Top Speed: 1.50 mach (1,793 kph)


Warhead: 165 kilogram (364 pound)


Luhai class DDG-167 Shenzhen destroyer


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.  Source


2015 Refit

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,[2] 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 eleven-barreled 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.[3][4] 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.[5][6]

Chinese sources indicate that it can also be fitted with YJ-12 supersonic missiles.  It can also be fitted with 16 YJ-83 missiles in four quadruple-tube launch containers as earlier reported.

Picture shows launch canisters said to be for YJ-12 supersonic missiles

 YJ-12 supersonic missile


The highlight of the “YJ-12” is not its range but speed. It can reach “Double Three” or “Double Four”, namely a range of 300 kilometers at Mach 3 (1.02 kilometers per second) or a range of 400 kilometers at Mach 4 (1.36 kilometers per second). When the missile is launched at low altitude at the terminal attack stage and carries out hide-and-defense penetration at high speed, the enemy can barely response within a period of time.


In addition, the missile can carry a warhead of 400-500 kilograms. It will give a heavy strike to large surface vessels. And an operational range between 300-400 kilometers has reached the maximum air-defense range of the surface vessels. The formidable anti-ship ability of the “YJ-12” is the major concern of the United States. Missile Data

CH 051B Luhai - 167

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:
Aircraft carried: helicopters: (Kamov Ka-28or Harbin Z-9C)
Aviation facilities:
  • Hangar accommodating 2 helicopters
  • Landing platform for one helicopter
  • Helicopter landing system

Type 051B Destroyer data

Sovremenny Class (Type 956): Details

Type 054A Frigate: Details

Luyang-II Class / Type 052C: Details


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