(Propaganda from March 17th)
Fuzhou, the second Sovremenny-class destroyer and one of the last imported vessels of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, has recently returned to active service and joined exercises after undergoing a refit and modernization, with experts saying on Wednesday that the warship is now even more powerful and adapted to the PLA Navy’s combat system.
Distinguishable by its hull number 137, the Fuzhou featured in a series of drills recently organized by the PLA Eastern Theater Command, eastday.com, a Shanghai-based online news outlet, reported on Tuesday, citing a recent press release by the PLA Eastern Theater Command and a recent report by China Central Television.
This indicates that the Fuzhou has wrapped up its mid-term upgrade and refit and has returned to active service, eastday.com reported.
Just like the Hangzhou, the PLA Navy’s first Sovremenny-class destroyer that finished its refitting in late 2019 and was seen taking part in exercises in March 2021, the 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 report said.
The modification of the vessel means all of its missiles are now domestically developed, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
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 said, noting that with the modernization, the Sovremenny-class destroyer has become comprehensively stronger in both defensive and offensive capabilities.
In addition to the new weapons, the Fuzhou also upgraded its electronic systems, eastday.com said.
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, eastday.com reported.
All the 956E ships have been upgraded and the two 956EM are also expected to be modified and refitted, the report said.