Chinese Navy Receives Second Upgraded Sovremenny-class Destroyer

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy put the upgraded Sovremenny-class destroyer Fuzhou to active service recently.

Distinguishable by its hull number 137, the Fuzhou featured in a series of drills recently organized by the PLA Eastern Theater Command, Chinese state-owned media reported. This indicates that the Fuzhou has wrapped up its mid-term upgrade and refit and has returned to active service.

Hangzhou, the first Sovremenny-class warship finished its refitting in late 2019 and was seen taking part in exercises in March 2021.

Fuzhou now has a 32-unit vertical launch missile system for the HHQ-16 air defense missiles that replaced the two original sets of Shtil air defense missile systems, and eight YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missiles that replaced the original eight P-270 anti-ship missiles.

“The HHQ-16 is a type of mid-to-close-range air defense missile that can establish a dense anti-aircraft and anti-missile umbrella, and the YJ-12 can provide stronger long-range anti-ship firepower,” Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In addition to the new weapons, the Fuzhou also upgraded its electronic systems. This could be seen in the destroyer’s radar, electronic warfare, communications and command, and control systems, Wei said, noting that this will allow the warship to better coordinate with other advanced PLA vessels.

China acquired two Sovremenny-class destroyers of the 956E variation, the Hangzhou in 1999 and the Fuzhou in 2000, and other two Sovremenny-class destroyers of the improved 956EM variation, the Taizhou in 2005 and the Ningbo in 2006. All the 956E ships have been upgraded and the two 956EM are also expected to be modified and refitted.