PLAN Sovremenny DDG 136, 137, 138 & 139 Thread


Tam

Major
Registered Member
I've been watching the Russian military for ten years and it's great to see these old soldiers get a new lease on life. Apologies for the unformed question - what changes did they make to these ships? Did they swap out the engines? I can see it has new anti ship missiles and Sino-RAM.
They literally Sinified the ship. They took out every Russian radar and replaced it with Chinese equivalents. Two of these radars are ironically, Chinese copies or variants of such, such as the Type 382 replacing the Top Plate, and the Type 366 replacing the Mineral ME Bandstand. Others have a more Western European design legacy, particularly from CSF Thompson, now absorbed into Thales, namely the Type 344 replacing the MR184 for AK130 gunnery, and the Type 347G replacing the MR123 for the AK630 control. The Type 344 is the standard gun fire control radar used by the PLAN for all its ships, and the Type 347G is the radar used on the Type 730 and 1130 CIWS but can be installed separately from those. Likewise, all the ellipsoid antenna navigation radars that were the originals, were replaced by linear array bar shaped navigation radars, this being a typical change. The Russian EW suite is replaced by the standard Chinese set used with other PLAN ships, namely the Type 726-1 ESM, 726-2 ESM and 726-3 ESM, but I don't see the Type 726-4 decoy system however. The decoy system is something that needs to be added sooner or later. The pole behind the top radar is changed to something that's used on the 052D, but also seen in the 051B Shenzhen refit. This pole probably is for SIGINT and UHF/VHF ESM. The EO has been changed or add to like something the ones used on the Type 054A frigates. The SATCOMs you typically see on Chinese ships are also added, there should be at least two kinds or pairs, a smaller and a larger one, for Ku band and X-band respectively. I would expect that with all these changes, the sonars on the ship would have been changed to Chinese ones, with matching changes in the internal network and computer systems.

Literally, a Sovremenny with Chinese characteristics.

The additions is the HQ-10 launcher, and the Type 364 radar on the back. There is no direct Russian equivalent to the Type 364 radar, which is an intended as a medium ranged scanner and tracker specific for sea skimmer missiles, so that is a new thing that was installed on the ship, and is found in almost all PLAN warships as a standard fit. Then of course, you have the VLS. The Front Domes are reduced from six to four, and likewise, the originals are replaced by domestic copies that are compatible with the HQ-16 SAM. The Moskits are replaced by YJ-12s, another obvious step in the Sinification.

More than upgrades, these changes are meant to bring the ships in line with the current PLAN standards in terms of electronic warfare, radar and sensor use. It also brings the ships in line with training the crews with the rest of the fleet

The AK-130s and AK-630s are retained, though overhauled. Its likely the original engines are also retained, but overhauled.

The one thing I'm surprised is that they have not fitted some kind of new PLAN data com array that the PLAN has been retrofitting on as many ships as it can. Yet. Maybe that will happen during their service of 136 and 137. Even the other two, not refitted Sovremenny have been already been fitted with this antenna as you can see with Ningbo here. The new antenna is the one you see underneath the second window of the bridge to the left.

The second pair of ships present a difference from other Sovremennys. Kashtans replace the AK630s, and there is a second radar on the back, likely to be a second Mineral ME Bandstand to cover the rear arc. There is a question whether the Kashtans will be replaced by Type 730 or 1130. The second Bandstand on the rear can either be changed by another Type 366 Bandstand copy or a Type 364 radar.

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Tam

Major
Registered Member
The two ships sitting right besides each other gives you a golden opportunity to observe the changes in one sitting. This pic dates from 2018, posted in the CDF by Xinhui. At this point, 136 is already in extensively deep in her changes, while 137 has begun. Note the large pole like antenna behind the top radar on 136, but you don't see it on 137 or any other Sovremenny. That pole you see on the 052D ships. All the stuff that's covered with black or striped tarp are the things that have been changed on 136.

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banjex

Junior Member
Registered Member
Thank you, that was very informative. Seems its firepower is now roughly at the level of a large frigate. I assume there's no more room to fit another YJ-12 on top of the racks otherwise they would have done so. Is the VLS 16 cells? By " data com array" do you mean a Sino LINK-16? Strange they wouldn't fit a data link to take full advantage of the YJ-12's range.
 

Tam

Major
Registered Member
Thank you, that was very informative. Seems its firepower is now roughly at the level of a large frigate. I assume there's no more room to fit another YJ-12 on top of the racks otherwise they would have done so. Is the VLS 16 cells? By " data com array" do you mean a Sino LINK-16? Strange they wouldn't fit a data link to take full advantage of the YJ-12's range.
VLS is 32 cells.

I don't think the comm array is Link 16. I suspect its a new and far faster protocol. It reminds me of a conformal phase array, and the communication might be ship to ship, ship to plane/helicopter, and possibly even ship to satellite. Newly commissioned Type 056A no. 617 has one as you can see on top of its bridge.

This isn't for missiles. If a missile is going to sea skim, your datalink won't reach it anyway due to the radar horizon. Plus for the range of the missile you are going to need a different antenna with a much longer frequency.

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The top is merely an example of a conformal phase array that's used for telecom, it does not necessarily mean that's what the ship's array is, just saying it reminds me of such.

You see it on the 171 Haikou here on top of the bridge. The YJ-62 datalink is a round thing that is at the rear of the ship behind the YJ-62 tubes and ahead of the CIWS --- it is absent on all 052Ds. I am not sure exactly what the YJ-18 uses as a datalink, and for that matter, for the YJ-12 and YJ-83.

DDG-171-PLANS-Haikou-02.jpg
 

Tam

Major
Registered Member
Strange they wouldn't fit a data link to take full advantage of the YJ-12's range.
I forgot to mention this.

Datalink for YJ-12, are likely from ship to satellite to missile like all the rest. Unlike SAM which can be flying high and you have a direct line of sight with the missile, the antiship missile will be over the horizon and flying low, and you don't have a direct line of sight for transmission link. Every PLAN ship usually at least two kinds of satellite communication, expressed physically in a larger SATCOM dome and a smaller dome. Over time, PLAN ships sport different SATCOMs which suggest new protocols are developed and added but we don't have publicly released information about them. Part of the Sovremenny upgrades includes the SATCOMs that brings the refit to the same standard as the rest of the PLAN fleet. The larger pair should be located towards the rear of the ship near below the funnels, between the Type 366-2 passive detection set and the second pair of Front Dome illuminators. Another new SATCOM is behind the Type 344 gunnery radar.

Reference example.
Satellite-Thingy.png
 

Tam

Major
Registered Member
What are their plans for the second pair?
If you want my hunch, not an official or factual answer, they would be eventually upgraded, but they're not in a hurry to do it this year. Both ships are still active and still exercising recently. I think they need to get 136 and 137 past the trials stage and back into full operational status before they will send in the next ship for refit.
 

Intrepid

Captain
Its likely the original engines are also retained, but overhauled.
Are they the same boilers and steam turbines as in Liaoning and Shandong? Just not 8 but 4 boilers and two instead of 4 steam turbines?

Then at least it would be clear that such a drive system can be built in China, because Shandong was not taken over by Russia or Ukraine, but newly built in China.
 

Tam

Major
Registered Member
Are they the same boilers and steam turbines as in Liaoning and Shandong? Just not 8 but 4 boilers and two instead of 4 steam turbines?

Then at least it would be clear that such a drive system can be built in China, because Shandong was not taken over by Russia or Ukraine, but newly built in China.
Likely they are not. But there is no need to make or procure brand new ones if the ships were properly maintained throughout the years. The 'damage' caused on the Russian Navy Sovremennys and other ships are caused by years of neglect, bad fuel choices, and improper maintenance. This may not be the case of the Chinese Sovremennys where I would expect that maintenance over the years have been impeccable. If the case is made for boiler and/or turbine replacement, I don't see why its a problem to get some new ones shipped from Russia or equivalent ones built in China.

Adding to my hunch will these ships are going to be overhauled and refitted, not just the Sovremennys but also the 054, 052B and the 051C, is that the service life of the average PLAN ship appears to be about 40 to 44 years, unless they plan to give it away to allied proxy navies.
 

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