China Retires Last Two Type 051 Destroyers

September 1, 2020 – A naval flotilla under the PLA Southern Theater Command last Friday held a decommissioning ceremony for two destroyers, the Zhanjiang (Hull 165) and the Zhuhai (Hull 166), both of which had served in the PLA Navy (PLAN) for nearly 30 years. The ceremony marked the final retirement of all the Type-051 destroyers, as China’s first-generation guided-missile destroyers independently developed and built by China, from active service.

As the PLAN’s first warships equipped with the modern ship-based command and control system, the Zhanjiang and the Zhuhai were the last two members and also the most modernized with fully enclosed bridge and hull in the Type-051 destroyer family. The former was commissioned to the Nanhai Fleet on December of 1989 and the latter in November of 1991.

In 1997, the Type-051G2 destroyer Zhuhai visited the U.S., Mexico, Peru and Chile, becoming the first of the PLAN’s warships crossing the Pacific Ocean.

All the 17 Type-051 destroyers were built from the 1970s to the early 1990s in Dalian, Shanghai and Guangzhou. They had served as the main surface combat ships of the PLAN for a long time with multiple modifications based on varied needs and technical requirements.

After the ceremony, the two warships will be handed over respectively to Zhanjiang City and Chongqing Municipality to serve as bases for national defense education and patriotic education.

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