Military


Jiangkai Type 054 Frigate

China operates a large number of FFG guided missile frigates with marginal ASW capability. Some of these operate one or two ASW helicopters and are armed with HQ-7 SAMs. These include eight Jiangwei II (053H3), two of which may go to Pakistan if it can ever pay for them. There also are two Maanshan (054) class building (which may operate the newer Ka-28 Helix) and more will follow rapidly.

By early 2003 information became available on a new design frigate to succeed the JIANGWEI class. By early Spring 2003 it was possible to view this frigate under construction at Shanghai's Hongdu Zhonghua shipyard. This frigate, Hull number 525, was launched on 11 September 2003. The Jiangkai-class Type 054 is also being built at Guangzhou's Huangpu shipyard, where Hull number 526, was launched on 30 November 2003. While the Hongdu shipyard used conventional ship construction techniques, in which the ship is gradually built-up, the Huangpu yard used modern techniques in which built the ship from pre-fabricated components.

The power, CPP and weapons systems of the first batch of four Type 054 FFGs are all imported from Russia or western countries.

This frigate, dubbed the "Type 054" by several sources, makes extensive use of stealth shaping, along the lines of French LAFAYETTE-class frigates purchased by Taiwan. While Chinese design bureaus could produce such designs, it is possible that either France or Russia provided assistance. One compromise of stealth is the higher bow to improve sea-keeping. While the stealth shape and [presumably] improved combat systems would improve warfighting, the armament of the Type 054 may not represent a great improvement over the JIANGWEI. The new ship is probably armed with the same HQ-7 SAM carried by the JIANGWEI II. The Type 054, like the JIANGWEI, is equipped with a medium-frequency sonar, suited for active-search in the shallow waters off Taiwan.

One clear improvment is the Russian Kamov Ka-28 ASW/Missile guidance helicopter. It is also equipped with CIWS systems similar to the Russian AK-630. In April 2002 the Franco-German company SEMT Pielstick announced that 8 x 16 PA6 STC engines will equip the first two frigates of a new generation to be built in Shanghai. The 16 cylinder PA6 STC will be manufactured under a license agreement by Shaanxi Diesel Engine Works.

The serial numbers of the No. 525 and 526 indicate they will be deployed in the Eastern Sea (Donghai) Fleet. To meet the goal of "balanced development" of the Chinese fleets, futher Type 054 FFGs may also be disposed primarily at the Southern Sea (Naihai) and Donghai Fleets, as it was the case with Type 053H3 Jiangwei II FFG.

It was reported in late 2005 that an improved version of the Type 054 frigate, the Type 054A (NATO codename Jiangkai II) was under construction at Huangpu Shipyard. The 054A, China's most modern frigate, is based on the same hull as the 054, but has updated sensors and more capable weapons. Most importantly, the Type 054A's medium-range HQ-16 VLS SAM system now provides area air defence from all engagement angles up to a range of 50km, a considerable upgrade from the limited engagement angle, short range SAM system of the Type 054. The 4 AK-630 30mm AA guns of the Type 054 have also been replaced by 2 autonomous Type 730 CIWS which have improved reaction time for close-in anti-aircraft and anti-missile engagements. Like the Type 054, the Type 054A also incorporates many stealth features: sloped hull design; radar absorbent materials; and reduction of surface equipment and features.

The Type 054 (NATO codename: Jiangkai Class) is the new-generation multirole missile frigate for the PLA Navy. The ship was built in the improved Type 054A (Jiangkai-II class) variant, featuring an 32-cell air-defence missile VLS and Russian Top Plate 3D air search radar. The third hull Xuzhou (530) was launched on 30 September 2006 and it was commissioned in late 2007.

As of 2012 production of Jiangkai II-class ships continued, with Jane’s projecting an eventual total of 16. The basis for this projection is unknown. In 2009 the US Office of Naval Intelligence projected a slight decline in the total number of frigates in service with the PLAN over the period 2009 to 2020. Given the expected service life for the FFG Jianghu Type 053, a total of as many as 23 Jiangkai frigates would be required by 2020 to support the ONI projected frigate force level.

DOD repoted in early 2013 that China had continued the construction of the workhorse JIANGKAI II-class FFG (Type 054A), with 12 ships then in the fleet and six or more in various stages of construction, and yet more expected. These new FFGs provide a significant upgrade to the PLA Navy’s area air defense capability, which will be critical as it expands operations into “distant seas" beyond the range of shore-based air defense.

The new guided-missile frigate Rizhao (Hull 598) joined a destroyer flotilla attached to the North China Sea Fleet of the PLA Navy on 12 January 2018, with the commissioning and naming ceremony held at a naval port in Dalian, north China's Liaoning province. Launched in April 2017, the 140-meter-long and 16-meter-wide frigate Rizhao, with a full displacement of over 4,000 tons, is developed and built by the Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding Company under China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC).

Jiangkai Type 054 Frigate - Thailand

In January 2013 the Thai government formed a committee to negotiate with a Chinese team on purchase of three frigates to enhance Thai’s naval strength in the resource-rich Gulf of Thailand. Both sides will work out details of the state-to-state frigate purchase agreement the groundwork of which was laid during the visit of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to Thailand in November 2012.

The Thai government approved the purchase of two medium-sized frigates with a budget of 1 billion U.S. dollars after denying allegation about the countrys navy persistent request for submarines. However, Beijing had offered three of its Type 054T frigates at a very lower rate and the number of the frigates on conditions that Bangkok could not ignore. Some source said these special offer include six Z-9EC ASW helicopters. The armed forced division had planned to utilize budgetary allocations of the US$ 1 billion fund, approved by the Yingluck Cabinet for the procurement of the frigates over a 10-year period, beginning from current fiscal year. The three frigates are unlikely be procured at the same time.

Type 054T frigate may be an improved version of the Type 054A frigate, possibly designated F40T, for which discussions have been held between Thailand and China. Cmmissioning of the type 054T frigates would help the capability of the Thai maritime force in Anti-submarine warfare in the Gulf of Thailand, the dimensions of which had changed in the last decade. Malaysia plans to acquire two more Scorpène class submarines and Vietnam recently purchased six Kilo class submarines from Russia, with the delivery of all six submarines will be completed before 2016. Thailand is still running a legal battle against Malaysia, over their maritime boundary. Rumors of a Cambodian submarine project seem unfounded.



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