The guided-missile Type 054A frigate Hengyang (Hull 568) and the guided-missile Type 052B destroyer Wuhan (Hull 169) attached to a destroyer flotilla with the navy under the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command steam alongside with each other during a maritime maneuver operation in waters of the South China Sea on June 18, 2020. The Southern Theater Command is one of the five theater commands of China’s People’s Liberation Army, founded on February 1, 2016. Its predecessor was the Guangzhou Military Region. Its jurisdiction includes Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Yunnan, Hainan and the South Sea Fleet, as well as the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
The Type 054A (NATO codename Jiangkai II) frigate is a class of Chinese multi-role frigates, the first of which entered service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy Surface Force in 2007. It is a development of the Type 054 frigate, using the same hull but with improved sensors and weapons. An improved variant beginning with the 17th unit launched from Huangpu Shipyard in 2009 has the seven-barrelled Type 730 CIWS replaced by the more capable 11-barrelled Type 1130, and is unofficially referred as Type 54A+. Another reported improvement over the original Type 054A includes the incorporation of variable depth sonar and towed array sonar.
The Type 052B or Guangzhou class destroyer (NATO codename Luyang I class) is a class of multirole missile destroyers built by the People’s Republic of China. Two ships have been built, with Guangzhou (168) and Wuhan (169) both being commissioned into the People’s Liberation Army Navy Surface Force in July 2004. This class features a stealthy hull and significantly improved air defence systems, an area that had been a major weakness on previous ships designed by China. These ships represent a major improvement over older generation vessels and reflects the PLAN’s need for more modern destroyer designs.