In 1996, a shipyard in Dalian began building a new type of multi-purpose guided-missile destroyer of the 051B type. Based on the 051-type, it was designated by NATO as the Luhai Class. Its appearance coincided with China’s development of other types of destroyers. Previously, China had built two 052-type destroyers.
However, only one 051B-type was built -- the Shenzhen (hull number 167), which was commissioned in 1999. It was honored as China’s Top Warship for its multiple firsts: the PLA’s biggest destroyer, its use of stealth technology and as China’s first warship to visit the African continent.
The 051B-type resembled the 052-type, though it was bigger in size and displacement. It also had technologies to evade radar and infrared signals. The anti-ship weapon was the Eagle-82 missile while its anti-air weapon was the Hai Hongqi-7 missile. In 2004, the Shenzhen was refitted and equipped with a more advanced digital system, new naval guns and anti-ship missiles.
Destroyer 167 was once known as China’s Top Warship.