052C/052D Class Destroyers


AndrewS

Brigadier
Registered Member
For directional antennas installed at heights of 20m to 40m the maximum distance between two such antennas is within approximately 25km to 45km respectively. Antennas at greater distances are obscured by radar horizon.

Directional antennas are useful for secure communication within a task force where ships are spread 25-30km apart and those distances are also relevant for effective ranges of active sonar and SHORAD coverage. You can bounce the signal if your system has sufficient capacity which multiplies this range by number of ships. Beyond that you need relays in the air.



AEGIS is a specific proprietary combat management system produced by Lockheed Martin not a type of architecture like Link or MIL-STD.

The only AEGIS destroyers in service are in US, Japanese, Korean and Australian navies. PLAN doesn't have AEGIS destroyers and won't have any unless it captures one.

USN has so many AEGIS ships because in the 90s E-2s had weaker radars and even weaker computers. Right now the processing power is sufficient that instead of huge centralized sensors it's better to develop integrated networks of distributed sensors which are more efficient and more survivable.

I recommend you watch the presentation on YT given by the project managed of Ford CVN project. The one major change that he said he would introduce having learned from the project would be the lack of expensive radars. He stated that they are far inferior to aerial assets combined with the escort and that the only radar that a carrier needs right now is for handling traffic. The radars on Ford took too much money, space and time.

With an upgrade to the C4 systems and a humble Type 054A or Type 056A can have situational awareness of a Flight III Burke. Americans are moving in the same direction but they are limited by their past procurement choices which is why their fleet is what it is at the moment.

We've seen Chinese destroyers with similar AEGIS layouts in terms of 4 AESA panels + CEC datalinks + combat management system. Hence I find it easier to call them AEGIS destroyers versus the older types.

I agree that airborne radars are superior to ship-based radars, but there are 2 points here

1. The Chinese Navy doesn't have carrier-launched AWACs aircraft yet

2. In recent years, it is the USA which has focused on expensive and very high-performance AESA radars due to incoming supersonic/hypersonic missiles. In comparison, Chinese destroyers do not face large numbers of supersonic/hypersonic missiles. So I suspect that contributes to the much lower cost of Chinese destroyers.

On the Ford, yes, I think the SPY-6 radar is a mistake as the carrier design should be focused on its airwing. The Ford only has point air defence missiles and will always be accompanied by escorts. So a simpler radar and CEC links should be sufficient. So that's a problem with US Navy requirements rather than the radar itself. Although, if you can conduct last-ditch EW attacks on an incoming missile, that may be an acceptable justification for the SPY-6.

Anyway, back on topic.
 

FairAndUnbiased

Captain
Registered Member
As for datalinks, there are quite a few forms of datalink antennas. The ones I see with PLAN ships often take the form of poles, either long or short, or small cylinders. These are likely to be monopoles or dipoles. They can communicate with another ship easy, or with a plane or helicopter low in height and closer to the horizon. But as the plane goes up and over the ship, the signal gets weaker and weaker until it reaches a null area. For this, you need a datalink that is shaped like a dome, with a dish shaped antenna on a gymbal. The antenna would follow the airplane or satellite as it goes across the sky. You can also see a few of them in PLAN ships, and one of them is called "Lightbulb", which the Mineral ME Dr link or its Chinese derivative the Type 366-2. This is used to obtain targeting data against ships for over the horizon. If you look at the Type 022, it only has the dipole kind of datalinks, but if you look at the 056, you will see both.
I believe the comm antennas are being migrated to phased arrays as well.
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Now researchers from the Shanghai Institute for Advanced Communication and Data Science at Shanghai University in China have developed a 28 Gigahertz (GHz) beam-steering antenna array that can be integrated into the metallic casing of 5G mobile phones.

“The antenna elements and arrays are easily integrated on the metallic frame or casing of a mobile phone, which is more suitable for industry mobile phone design,” said Danny Yu, the lead author of the research in the journal
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. “Compared to all other existing works for mm-Wave 28 GHz band, this work is totally unique in such a sense that it is very close to what the industry is working towards at the moment.”
 

Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
Couple of points

1. You would expect them to produce enough spare AESA modules for the remaining lifetime of the ships. Unit production cost for semiconductors is negligible compared to the huge upfront design cost, like we see in the civilian world

2. Upgrading and running new cooling systems is a major job.

3. AESA modules for 40+ AEGIS ships is not a major production run. It's actually a tiny production run compared to fab capacity

4. If it really were worth replacing GaA with GaN AESA modules, then why haven't the US done this with the Arleigh Burkes? It's exactly the same logic.

5. With the Sovremenny, there was no doubt that the Air Defence system was obsolete. But given all the Russian systems are tied together and that China almost certainly didn't have access to the source codes, it would be easier to replace everything. In comparison, the GaA AESA modules on the Type-052D will still be useful in 30 years time. GaN AESA modules on a Type-052D would face the same power availability and cooling limitations

I don't think you should make a huge stock of the original version 1.0 modules. What happens if there is a bug or bugs in them? You are going to have a huge inventory mess. You should not put too many eggs in one basket. A complex system will inevitably have bugs in them, and the higher ups are one day, going to request you improve its performance to match changing conditions and add features on them. This means you need to have room for upgrades and revisions which can sometimes take years. You can't put too much inventory on one batch if it turns out to have design bugs in them, and you need to allow for an inventory for debugged, refined and improved modules.

Similar to server architectures, AESA architectures are designed from the start to last for a long time and in consideration for expansions.
Even if it is not an AESA, the SPY-1 has more than a handful of upgrades on its own. Do note that it is now at Baseline 9. Phase shifters have been changed for example, like from 4 bits to 6 bits, this done long ago.

For example, with the 052D, are we going to say the first and second batch of the ships still have the same modules? The first batch are the ones that have some kind of calibration boom or probe under the panel, while the second batch doesn't have it. There needs to be changes in the array and modules itself to allow for some inborn RF measurement and calibration so that you can remove the boom. So in the second 052D batch, its likely there are improvements and refinements in the modules.

We do not know if new cooling systems are needed. Even so, I am not sure how much of a major job is that. Improvements in technology can make a cooling unit more efficient, yet lighter and consumes less power.

GaN makes a module run cooler. The cooler it gets, the more power you can push into it before it reaches its voltage breakdown point. Thus even you do not change the cooling unit, you can still put more power into the module before you reach to the same temperature point at a lesser power using a GaAs unit. For the same temperature, you get more power. It is not necessary to push the modules to the edge for maximum power, your goal post only needs to be better than the previous modules.

GaN is also more sensitive. Thus, even if you emit the same power, you will get more of the echo back. Without any increase in the power emission, you can still greatly benefit from the increase in receive gain. The catch is the potential increase in noise from the sensitivity, which you have to filter out.

Why haven't the US have done so with the Arleigh Burkes? They are already planning to do this. At least with the Flight IIA, the arrays were designed so that one day, they can be changed to an AESA by using the same modules used for the SPY-6. The 052C/D are already AESAs.

With the Sovremennys I am not sure if the Chinese had not access to the source codes. They might do---the later two Sovremennys had Chinese SATCOMs that were retrofitted into them, and these were done already long after the ships had been delivered. These include circular SATCOMs, the type with flat panel as in MIMO phase arrays. Considering that China had managed to reverse engineer both the Fregat and the Mineral radars, I don't see how breaking the source codes would be a challenge.
 
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Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
I believe the comm antennas are being migrated to phased arrays as well.
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That's done on this.

The illustration here is a civilian sample for a motorhome or a yacht.
unnamed.png


052D175-a.jpg


You see them in many ships, but in some new 052Ds they are missing. But in later photos of the same 052Ds, they turn up, which indicate these are retrofitted. You also see them being retrofitted on 054As, both 056s and just about every ship you can think of, even Jianghus. This points to the PLAN moving hurriedly to a new datalink-SATCOM infrastructure.

So the question is what are these PLAN ships chatting in the sky above that also hosts a flat MIMO panel with high speed digital communications. Satellites? AEW? UAV? Helicopters with flat panels (see the round thing) on their bottoms? All of them?


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Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
We've seen Chinese destroyers with similar AEGIS layouts in terms of 4 AESA panels + CEC datalinks + combat management system. Hence I find it easier to call them AEGIS destroyers versus the older types.

I agree that airborne radars are superior to ship-based radars, but there are 2 points here

1. The Chinese Navy doesn't have carrier-launched AWACs aircraft yet

2. In recent years, it is the USA which has focused on expensive and very high-performance AESA radars due to incoming supersonic/hypersonic missiles. In comparison, Chinese destroyers do not face large numbers of supersonic/hypersonic missiles. So I suspect that contributes to the much lower cost of Chinese destroyers.

On the Ford, yes, I think the SPY-6 radar is a mistake as the carrier design should be focused on its airwing. The Ford only has point air defence missiles and will always be accompanied by escorts. So a simpler radar and CEC links should be sufficient. So that's a problem with US Navy requirements rather than the radar itself. Although, if you can conduct last-ditch EW attacks on an incoming missile, that may be an acceptable justification for the SPY-6.

Anyway, back on topic.


1. Soon enough.
2. They do. Taiwan, Japan, India and Vietnam has supersonic antiship missiles. Taiwan's supersonic missiles are also small despite being supersonic which makes them dope. But most importantly, Chinese destroyers have to deal with low RCS "stealth" aircraft and missiles from the US and that requires stronger radars, even VHF radars. Hence the enormous sizes of their AESA panels, bigger than SPY-1. The Type 055's is the biggest yet. If PPP is considered, these Chinese destroyers are still costly in terms relative to the Chinese economy, but the Chinese economy just happens to be a lot healthier at the moment, the Chinese defense industry does not pad high profit margins, and the defense establishment ordering at the state owned defense industry is moving money from one pocket to another so they can afford a Rolls Royce approach to sensors like the Type 055.
3. Gerald Ford uses SPY-3 and SPY-4. It was part of the original design. With SPY-4 scrapped on the Zumwalt, it will be the first and last ship in the USN to have the S-band SPY-4. SPY-6 is not going to the remainder of the Ford class. They will use a cheaper, econo version of the SPY-6 called EASR, that only has 8 subarrays instead of 37. EASR is the frigate level version of the SPY-6.
4. I do agree very much on the final paragraph. Better to have a simpler radar, advanced datalinks and a network of UAVs, satellites and AEW aircraft. It also aligns to what the PLAN has been working on the last few years.
 

Andy1974

Junior Member
Registered Member
That's done on this.

The illustration here is a civilian sample for a motorhome or a yacht.
View attachment 77146


View attachment 77145


You see them in many ships, but in some new 052Ds they are missing. But in later photos of the same 052Ds, they turn up, which indicate these are retrofitted. You also see them being retrofitted on 054As, both 056s and just about every ship you can think of, even Jianghus. This points to the PLAN moving hurriedly to a new datalink-SATCOM infrastructure.

So the question is what are these PLAN ships chatting in the sky above that also hosts a flat MIMO panel with high speed digital communications. Satellites? AEW? UAV? Helicopters with flat panels (see the round thing) on their bottoms? All of them?


View attachment 77147
We see Chinese industry rapidly adopting IoT, there are even IoT dedicated satellites, we even see this on the space station.

If every sensor has an IoT chip that uses the best available comms path available then that data could be aggregated anywhere and acted upon.

So maybe a lot of the chat is this IoT streaming data?
 

Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
We see Chinese industry rapidly adopting IoT, there are even IoT dedicated satellites, we even see this on the space station.

If every sensor has an IoT chip that uses the best available comms path available then that data could be aggregated anywhere and acted upon.

So maybe a lot of the chat is this IoT streaming data?

Its more like every antenna element in the array is like a small tiny square patch that is its own IC and chip, emitter, receiver, processor, everything. So its like an IOT chip.

The phase array com device should connect to multiple assets in the sky across a wide arc using multibeams simultaneously, compared to say a mechanical dish that has to swivel from target to target. So the device must be streaming across a wide swatch the sky against the many sky and space borne devices within that arc. Imagine let's say you are talking to a large number of UAVs in the sky along with multiple satellite constellations.

Examples.

image.jpgunnamed (2).jpg


It brings a lot of interesting possibilities with the ships.
 

by78

Lieutenant General
156 and 131.

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