This is the first Chinese Navy Luhai-class destroyer, displaying South Sea Fleet pendant number 167 when photographed at Dalian Shipyard, just prior to commencing sea trials in October 1998. About 20% larger than the preceding two-ship Luhu class, the Luhai differs principally in having double the number of fixed canister launchers amidships (16) for C-801 or C-802 antiship missiles. Unlike the Luhus, the Luhai lacks a variable-depth sonar, and no antisubmarine rocket launchers are seen in the available photography. Also missing is the enormous antenna for the Luhus' Hai Ying ("God Eye") longrange air-search radar; instead, a Sea Eagle (Rice Field) three-dimensional search radar is fitted atop the after pylon mast and an old-fashioned Type 363 radar, with television-type antenna, is fitted just forward of the after stack. If the Luhai has the same 53,600 maximum horsepower combined diesel-or-gas turbine propulsion system as the smaller Luhus, maximum speed should be well under 30 knots. Some reports, however, indicate that four 27,000-shaft-horsepower Ukrainian gas turbines are fitted instead. Other armament duplicates that of the Luhu class: a twin 100-mm gunmount forward, four twin 37-mm Type 76A antiaircraft mounts atop the helicopter hangar, and an octuple French Crotale short-range surface-to-air missile launcher—although space appears to have been left forward of the bridge for later installation of several vertical missile launchers.
The 12,500-deadweight-ton Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Sea Centurion departing Marchwood Military Port, Southampton, on her first voyage after delivery in November 1998. Also built by Societa Esercizo Cantieri at Viareggio, Italy, a second unit, the Sea Chieftain , was delivered in December. The 22.5-knot, 599-foot overall pair require crews of only 17 each and have a range of 6,000 nautical miles. On 18-month charters from Stena Ferries, Sweden, the pair retain their blue-and-white commercial paint schemes, but the twin funnels flanking the vehicle ramp are painted gray in a nod to standard RFA colors. The two are intended to provide short-notice strategic sealift for vehicles of Britain's Joint Rapid Deployment Force. Four similar ships are to be ordered in 2000 for delivery by the end of 2003.
The USS Trepang (SSN-674) arriving at Fleet Base West, Fremantle, Australia, on 27 October 1998, more than two months after her 14 August formal public deactivation ceremony. Several other U.S. Navy nuclear-powered attack submarines, including the Billfish (SSN-676) and Narwhal (SSN-671), also commenced final operational deployments in 1998 after their stand-down ceremonies. The Trepang was due to enter "In Commission, In Reserve" status on 4 January 1999, to prepare for defueling and eventual disposal. By the end of 1999, only 2 of the original 37 Sturgeon (SSN-637)class submarines are scheduled to remain in service, the L. Mendel Rivers (SSN-686) and the specially configured Parche (SSN-683); they are to retire in 2001 and 2002, respectively.