CHINA / MILITARY
China's refitted Sovremenny-class destroyer conducts exercises as combat capability improved
Published: Mar 21, 2021 08:54 PM
Sovremenny-class guided missile destroyer Hangzhou (Hull 136) and Ningbo (Hull 139) attached to the PLA Eastern Theater Command Navy conduct exercises in early 2021. Photo: Screenshot from navy.81.cn

Sovremenny-class guided missile destroyer Hangzhou (Hull 136) and Ningbo (Hull 139) attached to the PLA Eastern Theater Command Navy conduct exercises in early 2021. Photo: Screenshot from navy.81.cn



The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently held a series of naval exercises that featured two Sovremenny-class destroyers imported from Russia, one recently refitted and modernized by China, a move which will lead to enhanced combat capability, analysts said on Sunday.

A naval flotilla attached to the PLA Eastern Theater Command Navy consisting of the Type 052D guided missile destroyer Taiyuan, Sovremenny-class guided missile destroyers Hangzhou and Ningbo and the Type 054A guided missile frigate Zhoushan, recently held patrols and exercises in an undisclosed sea region, navy.81.cn, the news website of the PLA Navy, reported in the past week.

The Hangzhou, which underwent a modernization refitting modification in 2015 and wrapped up the upgrade in late 2019, is seen up close in detail in a set of photos released with the navy.81.cn report, Passion News, a media outlet under k618.cn, a news portal run by the  Chinese Communist Youth League Central Committee, reported. 

This is the first time the PLA Navy has displayed the newly installed YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missile launchers on the Hangzhou, the Passion News report said.

Yin Zhuo, a Chinese naval expert, said that the YJ-12 is almost impossible to intercept because its fast speed only leaves the enemy with a mere 10 or so seconds to attempt an intercept, Passion News reported.

As part of the modernization program to upgrade the warship delivered by Russia in 1999, eight YJ-12 anti-ship missiles replaced the original eight Russian-made Sunburn missiles, a 32-unit vertical launch missile system for the HQ-16 air defense missiles that replaced the original two sets of Shtil air defense missile systems, and the ship's electronic systems were also comprehensively upgraded, Shanghai-based news website eastday.com said, also citing the navy.81.cn report.

The differences between the China-refitted Hangzhou and the original Ningbo are clearly seen as the two featured in the same photo in the navy.81.cn report, analysts said.

Refitting the Sovremenny-class with China's domestically developed advanced weapons and equipment significantly enhances the ship's combat capability, as China's related technologies nowadays have far surpassed that of Russia's when the ships were delivered, a Chinese military expert told the Global Times on Sunday, requesting anonymity.

It also enables the warship to better integrate into China's new combat system, the expert said.

China acquired four Sovremenny-class destroyers, the Hangzhou in 1999, the Fuzhou in 2000, the Taizhou in 2005 and the Ningbo in 2006, with the former two the 956E variation and the latter two the improved 956EM variation, eastday.com reported.


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