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Type 053H2G Jiangwei frigates
Type 053H3 Jiangwei-II frigates
Type 053H2 Jiangwei-III frigates

There is some confusion concerning the nomenclature for this class. The Chinese designation is Type 053, while the Western designation of the Type 053 is "Jiang Wei". The "Jiang Wei" class follow-up models include the 053H1, 053H2, and 053H3. But these do not seem to be in sequence, and apparently authoritative sources disagree on the details. The so-called Type 055 Jiangwei frigates, Type 057 Jiangwei-II frigates, Type 059 Jiangwei-III frigates are probably in error.

The F22T Jiangwei class was the first Chinese patrol combatant to have anti-submarine capability. It is 115 meters long, a displacement of 2250 tons, and a speed of 25 knots. The Jiangwei class represents a shift in Chinese naval thinking away from ships that operate close to shore and toward ocean-going warships. Its major weapons system is the CY-1 anti-submarine missile. There is a helicopter deck for one helicopter, and six C-802 anti-ship missiles are deployed, though the units lack any real ASW capability.

Historically the biggest weakness of Chinese destroyers and frigates has been their inadequate ship-to-air missiles. Because they have small displacements, most of the destroyers and frigates are not equipped with short-range and intermediate-range missiles, but use artillery with a limited firing range, one-man air defense missiles, and a small number of PL-8H short-range ship-to-air missiles for air defense. The weakness in air defense capabilities has confined the activity of China's destroyers and frigates to the Chinese coastal waters, within the area covered by the fighters of the Chinese Navy. Jiangwei class frigates are equipped with ship-to-air missiles, including the HQ-61B with a firing range of 10 km and Sea Sidewinders with a firing range of 14 km. However, the PLAN's HQ-61 and HQ-7 systems [based on the French Crotale land-based surface-to-air missile system] do not provide surface units with an effective area-defense capability. This deficiency makes PLAN surface units extremely vulnerable to air attack.

The PLA Navy's three most advanced missile-equipped warships of the late 20th Century -- the Jiangwei-class frigates, the later versions of the Luda-class destroyers, and the Luhu-class destroyers -- were probably the first Chinese warships to have combat direction systems that provide tactical integration of shipboard sensors and weapons.

Four Jiangwei units completed in the early 1990s [although a fifth unit is suggested by some sources, authoritative sources agree that only four units were built].

By June 2012 the JIANGWEI I class (Type 053H2G) frigate 540 Huainan was completing a major refit at Shenjia Navy Yard (No. 4805) in Shanghai, the East Sea Fleet’s main repair yard. The 100 mm twin turret was replaced by a “stealthy” new Type 99 twin turret. The missile canisters for the obsolete HHQ-61A air defence missiles were removed, but will probably be reinstalled, as the launcher itself remains in place. Sister ship 542 Tongling underwent a similar modernisation a few years earlier, retaining the HHQ-61A SAM’s, as well as six YJ82 SSM’s.

FFG 540 was transferred from 15 Frigate Squadron at Dinghai to 8 Frigate Squadron at Shanghai early 2011 in company with sistership 539 Anqing, after having been replaced in 15 Squadron by JIANGKAI II class (Type 054A) 548 Yiyang and 549 Changzhou. 541 Huaibei and 542 remain in 15 Squadron, as their replacements, JIANGKAI II 531 and 532 would not arrive until 2013/14. Bangladesh has reportedly bought two of the JIANGWEI I class frigates, believed to be 541 and 542. It is not known which configuration will want for her ships, but it seems most unlikely that they would want to keep the obsolete HHQ-61A.

The Chinese PLAN are declaring many of those surplus to requirement and transferring them to Coast Guard service as they induct brand new Type 54 frigates and Type 52 destroyers. The Bangladeshis have placed an order for a new F22P frigate and have also reached out for two surplus Type 53H2 frigates at knock-down prices. The Burmese also snapped up two used older Type 53H1 frigates.

Jiangwei-III Type 053H2 [059?]

The last three vessels, Xiangfan (567), Luoyang (527) and Mianyang (528), have slightly different weapons and radar configuration. As the Jiangwei-II lacked vertical-launch system air defense missiles, they are being succeeded by the Jiangwei-III Type 059, to be built with VLS missiles. The Jiangwei-III Type 053H3 [seemingly not 059] class frigates was expected to begin construction before 2005. This anticipated to remedy the anti-air deficiencies of the Type 055 class through the addition of a vertical launch system battery of surface-to-air missiles. Construction of this third variant had apparently been abandoned in favor of the Type 054 Maanshan, similar to Jiangwei III except stealthy features and CIWS.

But Bernard D. Cole, author of "The Great Wall at Sea: China's Navy in the Twenty-First Century" visited a Jiangwei III–class FFG in May 2006, during which the ship's commanding officer described his ship, then just six months in commission, as a “Jiangwei III”. The Jiangwei III, of which at least one was in commission as of 2010, seemed to differ from its earlier models mainly in its improved command and control capabilities.

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Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:09:47 ZULU