Type 054/A FFG Thread II


Lethe

Senior Member
The key message of that leak(coupled with the post about lengthening not constituting enough of a change for a new letter) was basically that PLAN needs the line rolling.

A good way to keep the line rolling is not to stop the line from rolling in the first place, which is what PLAN allowed to occur several years back now. If 054A does "resume" in much the same configuration as it ended, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that PLAN has likely experienced a development failure with 054B akin to that which led USN to first end and then resume Burke IIA production.

That is to say, the most plausible explanation of what we have seen these past few years is that there was an 054B program intended to follow-on from 054A shortly after 2020. That program ran into problems. Perhaps those problems were technical, perhaps doctrinal, perhaps both. A re-tooled 054B development program is now underway, and significant numbers of additional 054As have been ordered to compensate both for the 054Bs that were originally expected to already be under construction and for those originally expected to be constructed over the next few years, and as insurance against further potential problems with the 054B project.
 
Last edited:

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
A good way to keep the line rolling is not to stop the line from rolling in the first place, which is what PLAN allowed to occur several years back now. If 054A does "resume" in much the same configuration as it ended, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that PLAN has likely experienced a development failure with 054B akin to that which led USN to first end and then resume Burke IIA production.

That is to say, the most plausible explanation of what we have seen these past few years is that there was an 054B program intended to follow-on from 054A shortly after 2020. That program ran into problems. Perhaps those problems were technical, perhaps doctrinal, perhaps both. A re-tooled 054B development program is now underway, and significant numbers of additional 054As have been ordered to compensate both for the 054Bs that were originally expected to already be under construction and for those originally expected to be constructed over the next few years, and as insurance against further potential problems with the 054B project.

It's difficult to reverse engineer out causes without knowing what their original plans for the ship were, and how or if their evolution of the vision for what they wanted 054B to be (size, new subsystems, new technology) and role to be.

For all we know what 054B will end up being was very different to what their original requirements for 054B was say, 5 or 10 years ago. Of course, it can't be ruled out that there may have been technical challenges with various subsystems -- if 054B does end up with IEPS as we expect I think there's a good chance the challenge may have been making it viable and reliable, for example -- but at the same time it also depends on how quickly they churn out these extra 20 054As.


Because these twenty 054As, if they are churned out in a relatively fast speed say 20 over 4-5 years, suggests to me that such numbers would be inappropriate if the goal was only as insurance against 054Bs meant to be in production or potential problems with 054B down the line. That is to say, given how recently the last batch of 054A construction finished, I find it hard to believe the PLAN would have expected 20 054Bs to be produced within the span of five years given the extent and variety of new technologies it would be expected to field, as well as the speed of acceptance and commissioning into the PLAN and being combat ready.
Whereas the 054A is such a known quantity that I imagine by the time the ship finishes sea trials it would require a new crew a much shorter time to become combat ready compared to a new ship like 054B where the entire book has to be written, retested, and rewritten again.


So, my personal speculation is that these extra 054As are mostly a response to the much pronounced and flaunted shipbuilding programs in the region and across the world WRT medium and large frigates from various navies seeking to bolster their fleet numbers. While it's possible the 20 054As are also partially a hedge against delays of 054B, the sheer number of them being procured doesn't make sense as a mere hedge IMHO.
Instead, I think it makes sense more as a "oh, you're going to augment your fleet numbers with FFG(X)? Okay, we'll continue with 054B planned to enter service around the same time, but we'll just casually add another 20 054As to the fleet in the mean time."

With 50 054As in service, that will be just 20 ships short of the number of 056/As in service, and basically the same number of 056As produced to this point.
That's quite a significant augmentation to regional patrol/presence missions to augment 056/As as well as in the ASW role and providing a medium range AAW capability against low to medium capability foes in the area, while still being sufficiently blue water capable to contribute to task forces with destroyers, while the PLAN awaits 054B to emerge that is going to be significantly more capable in all of those domains.
 

Tam

Colonel
Registered Member
A good way to keep the line rolling is not to stop the line from rolling in the first place, which is what PLAN allowed to occur several years back now. If 054A does "resume" in much the same configuration as it ended, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that PLAN has likely experienced a development failure with 054B akin to that which led USN to first end and then resume Burke IIA production.

That is to say, the most plausible explanation of what we have seen these past few years is that there was an 054B program intended to follow-on from 054A shortly after 2020. That program ran into problems. Perhaps those problems were technical, perhaps doctrinal, perhaps both. A re-tooled 054B development program is now underway, and significant numbers of additional 054As have been ordered to compensate both for the 054Bs that were originally expected to already be under construction and for those originally expected to be constructed over the next few years, and as insurance against further potential problems with the 054B project.


Hard to say if it ran into technical problems as we know too little about it. Technical problems sounds like a Base 2 issue, and the ship hasn't even left Base 1. The problems you have with the Zumwalt that leads to the Flight III and the LCS leading to the Constellation class, came out because you got ships in metal and matter to have this problems in the first place.

If there are issues with IEPS, assuming the ship will even use IEPS, that's another thing. But the ship's designation of "054B" --- the leaks made by hiring ads refer to it as "XX4B", points to the ship being diesel.

Then all the rough drawings of leaks on the ship, not the glorious fan made CG models, all point to a conservatively designed ship. It still looks a lot like the 054, but now with the obligatory format of having gatling CIWS at the front and the HQ-10 launcher on top of the hanger. The Type 347 and 366 radars are retained, and on top of the mast you got a Chinese Lantern dome that hides its main radar. I would assume this radar to be a dual sided AESA, and it can be the same one you see on the 075 right now, just that the dome itself wasn't a good idea that they nixed it and went bare. Then you have the obligatory ESM mast on the back. The Chinese lantern sits upon a fat obelisk of an integrated mast, likely holding the IFF and the CEC in panels facing four directions.

My own personal hunch is that this ship isn't much of a departure from the 054A, and lacks enough ambition and vision. A bit too conservative perhaps. In a more peaceful political climate this ship would have been okay, but as things heat up, it is no longer okay. The revised 054B would be a revised, more radical, if not more powerful ship, but one that has to be balanced by a safe counterpart.

I would consider looking at the 075 to where the next frigate might be going. Hudong Zhonghua is going to be making it, and HDZ might be the ones designing the ship as it did with its predecessors.
 
Last edited:

vincent

Senior Member
You guys miss a possible political explanatio: the Chinese leadership sees potential military conflicts with the Hegemon in a few years time. They want the ships and they want them ASAP
 

Tam

Colonel
Registered Member
One thing I wonder is whether the 054A will adopt using the YJ-12 missile. I don't think there is a technical obstacle to this. This seems to be a decision by the higher ups if they want to say yes or no to this. If they might foresee that conflict is likely in the near future, this is something to consider. The other question is whether the YJ-12 can also be used to arm the 056/056A line.
 

sndef888

Junior Member
Registered Member
One thing I wonder is whether the 054A will adopt using the YJ-12 missile. I don't think there is a technical obstacle to this. This seems to be a decision by the higher ups if they want to say yes or no to this. If they might foresee that conflict is likely in the near future, this is something to consider. The other question is whether the YJ-12 can also be used to arm the 056/056A line.
YJ-12 for 056 might be a bit of an overkill. I doubt its sensors can even utilise the missile efficiently
 

Tam

Colonel
Registered Member
YJ-12 for 056 might be a bit of an overkill. I doubt its sensors can even utilise the missile efficiently

The 056 mounts the YJ-83, which goes up to 200km, and that's definitely over the horizon. So the ship has some undocumented ability that allows for long range OTH targeting.

051B refit 167 Shenzhen doesn't have the sensors for it either. Note that the ship does not have the Type 366 'Bandstand' antiship radar, unlike all the 052B/C/D and 054A, even if the Shenzhen has 16 YJ-12. So like the 056, the 051B refit has to have some undocumented ability that allows for over the horizon antiship missile targeting. Usually with ships, that is attained two ways. The first is from an aircraft spotter from which the ship is communicating via datalink. This can be amended and updated to using UAVs and even satellites. The other is through directional ESM, where the ship triangulates its target via the target's long range radio emissions. Most ships do not use their main radars to target other ships, as they are all line of sight and limited by the radar horizon. If a target is within line of sight, which means like 30km or less, the gunnery fire control radar can also act to target the enemy ship directly.

Its the Russians that use some form of over the horizon antiship targeting radar, of which there are a few, but the most well known is the unit code named 'Bandstand', which consists of an active radar unit, a passive ESM unit and a cooperative datalink. This unit is bought, then copied by the Chinese and improved into a version of their own, making them a ubiquitous presence in PLAN. While the 052C/D and the 054A has the Chinese version, while the Sovs, the 051C and the 052B has the original Russian version, the 052, 053H3, 054, 051B, the 056 and 056A lack these, even if they are using the YJ-83. So all these other ships have to be using datalinks and/or directional finding ESM. Assuming that directional finding ESM still has some range limit, risks being inaccurate and situational, the most reliable means of long range targeting is via air, whether through patrol aircraft, helicopter, or UAV, and potentially even by satellite, communicating their findings to the ship via datalink. Even the 056 has some datalinks, including SATCOMs.
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
Firing platform doesn't have to have sensors. Soviet Oscar subs were planned to fire their missiles almost exclusively on third party targeting information.
 

iantsai

Just Hatched
Registered Member
Huangpu Shipbuilding Co., a new 054a(#31) is under construction. And behind the type 22 missile boat, Liuzhou(penant no. 573, 054A #12) is returning to shipyard for maintenance.

Unofficial source said the new batch would be 20 ships.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20201129_104031.png
    IMG_20201129_104031.png
    720.4 KB · Views: 41

Top