The Chinese Navy relies on a plethora of ships to stock its burgeoning surface fleet intended for coastal patrolling and enforcement of national interests across the Asia-Pacific Theater. One of its more modern destroyer classes is the "Type 052 Luhu-class", a guided-missile platform designed around speed, hard-hitting multi-role armament and ocean-going deep water capabilities. Only two of the class have been produced, these as the Harbin (112) and the Qungdao (113) with the Harbin entering service sometime in 1994 - constructed at the Jiangnan Shipyard. With its multi-faceted design scope, the Harbin can supply fleet air defense through its missile network and work in conjunction with other Chinese naval and air assets through combined operations at sea.
The Harbin's design benefited from the available Western technologies available to Chinese engineers prior to worsening relations with the West in the late 1980s. Access to such equipment allowed designers to learn from proven existing technologies which could be re-engineered and, eventually, evolved in time for future Chinese naval developments. The Harbin, however, made due with its original foreign equipment which went on to limit the tactical scope of its overall design to an extent. While a capable surface craft in its own right, the Harbin still held a large reliance on its foreign equipment which limited future modernization and, therefore, operational capability. The ship class was also limited to just two vessels which may perhaps indicate that the class was only ever intended to further Chinese naval development aspirations and nothing more. The inherent restrictions in the Luhu-class eventually led to the development of the succeeding Type 051B-class destroyer which intended to iron out these deficiencies in design. Type 051B vessels began entering PLAN service in 1998 though only one has since been completed (this being the recognized formally as the "Luhai-class" with the Shenzhen (167) being its only ship).
As it stands, the Harbin displaces as 4,800 tons with a bow-to-stern length of 144 meters. Its beam is measured at 16 meters with a draught equal to 5 meters. The entire crew complement of officers and enlisted totals 260 men (approximately 40 officers). Its overall hull design is highly conventional using tried-and-proven shaping techniques though little regard is given to stealth in this series (unlike newer Chinese vessels coming online today). The bow is sharply pointed as expected with the first feature being the deck gun turret. Rails dot the sides of the vessel along two levels. An 8-cell launcher is directly aft of the deck gun atop a raised portion of superstructure. Aft of this are two turrets to which the bridge is there fitted aft of these. The bridge sits atop the front-most superstructure in a traditional way and identified by its large rectangular windows ranging across the front and partially to each side for commanding views of the sea ahead. The main superstructure is capped by a plethora of structures used in command and fire control of the ship. At amidships is the smoke funnel used to aspirate the conventional propulsion system buried deep within the hull. A second pyramid mast is affixed aft of the funnel. The second superstructure - containing a full-service hangar - is seated ahead of the stern. The helicopter deck makes up the aft-most portion of the ship and can receive/launch rotary-wing systems up to medium-class sizes.
Power to the class is supplied through a CODOG (COmbined Diesel Or Gas) arrangement incorporating 2 x General Electric LM2500 series gas turbines (55,000hp) mated to 2 x MTU Friedrichshafen 12V 1163TB83 diesel engines (8,840hp). CODOG allows for propulsion of the vessel through both diesel and gas systems, both being mated to each propeller shaft. The vessel is therefore able to reach burst speeds through use of the gas turbine with cruising handled by the diesel installations. Both engines are fed through reduction gearboxes and are managed by clutches when considering a typical CODOG arrangement. This arrangement is popular amongst modern-day destroyer, frigate and corvette type vessels and is contrary to the CODAG arrangement - which sees a vessel utilize the output of both powerplants to each propeller shaft. The Harbin is, therefore, able to reach a top listed speed of 31 knots and features a range of 4,600 miles.
The vessel is outfitted with a bevy of sensors, communications and countermeasures equipment. Most are centralized along the main mast while some facilities are held along the second superstructure. The Harbin features a ZKJ-4B (Thomson-CF) processing system with HN-900 data link and SNTI-240 SATCOM (SATellite COMmunications) suites. There are 2 x Type 630 series optronic directors fitted. Air-Search functionality was originally handled by a Type 518 series Hai Ying 3D system with low-altitude search handled by a Type 362 family installation (since updated in a 2011 refit detailed below). Various fire control radar systems manage the various onboard weapon systems. Electronic warfare is through a series of integrated jammers and decoy handlers.
As with any destroyer, the armament suite of the Harbin is what truly creates the identity of the ship in question. Modern-day destroyers must be able to field several capable weapons to fulfill its multirole existence. As built, the Harbin was given 4 x YJ-83 anti-ship missiles in quad-launchers (16 total missiles) suitable for countering the threat of enemy surface ships at range. The YJ-83 is a modern anti-ship missile debuted in 1989 and capable of near-Mach 1 speeds with an operational range of about 500 km. It is also recognized under its export designation of "C-803". There is an 8-cell bank of missile launchers containing the HQ-7 surface-to-air-missile (SAM) - a short-ranged air-defense system intended to counter the threat of incoming aerial threats such as aircraft or cruise missiles. Beyond its missiles, the Harbin is outfitted with a conventional deck gun as the 100mm Type H/PJ33A twin-barreled Dual-Purpose (DP) fitted along the forecastle. The deck gun can be used as a medium-to-short ranged counter to surface ships or for offshore bombardment of land-based targets within range. Enemy submarines must take note of the 2 x triple-tube Yu-7 series torpedo tubes fitted to the Harbin. Close-in defense was initially handled by 4 x 30mm Type H/PJ76A twin-barreled cannons and 2 x Type 75 series twelve-tube anti-submarine warfare rocket launchers (since replaced, see 2011 refit below).
The stern-based helicopter deck has access to the onboard hangar facilities and stowage for up to 2 x small- or medium-class helicopter types. Principally, the Chinese Navy makes use of the Harbin Z-9C for general transport/utility duties or the Soviet-era Russian-designed Kamov Ka-27 series. The latter is outfitted with specialized equipment for the anti-submarine / anti-ship role and navalized for the rigors of at-sea operations. The Ka-27 has proven a capable navy helicopter since its inception in 1982 with modernization programs extending its capabilities for the near-future. The Harbin Z-9C is nothing more than the Chinese local production version (under license) of the French Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin ("Dolphin") series, another highly capable modern platform.
In 2011, the Luhai-class saw a notable refit program which advanced its armament and onboard processing/directing systems. The 37mm anti-aircraft guns were given up in favor of 2 x 30mm Type 730 (H/PJ12) series digitally-controlled, seven-barreled Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs) (fitted over the helicopter hangar). Likewise, the 12-tube ASW rocket launchers have been replaced by 2 x Type 87 six-tube versions instead. 2 x 122mm Type 726-4 series decoy launchers were added to either side of the bridge in the upgrade program. The Type 518 and Type 362 radars were upgraded to a Type 517M and Type 364 series respectively. The sister-ship, Qingdao, was upgraded in similar fashion during 2011.