China Upgrades Russian Sovremenny-class Destroyers with Anti-ship Cruise Missiles

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Chinese Navy’s Sovremenny-class guided missile destroyers conduct exercises in early 2021.

China recently displayed the upgraded Russian-made Sovremenny-class Destroyer, Hangzhou installed with YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missile launchers.

A series of naval exercises held by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently featured two of these destroyers Hangzhou and Ningbo delivered to China around 20 years ago. Taiyuan Type 052D destroyer and Zhoushan Type 054A destroyer also took part in the drills.

Hangzhou underwent modernization in 2015 that was wrapped up in late 2019. It involved equipping the warship with eight YJ-12 anti-ship missiles to replace the original eight Russian-made Sunburn missiles, fitting 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, besides upgrading the ship’s electronic systems, PLA Navy’s news website reported.

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 a media outlet under, a news portal run by the  Chinese Communist Youth League Central Committee, reported.

A military expert explained to the Global Times that 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. It also enables the warship to better integrate into China’s new combat system.