Type 054/A FFG Thread II


plawolf

Brigadier
I actually think pure stealth subsonic AShMs like NSM are a suboptimal design.

Remember that Stealth isn’t absolute. Get close enough and radar power will overcome stealth. Which is the core issue with stealthy subsonic AShMs like the NSM. They need to go straight at targets with the biggest and most powerful mobile radars on earth, and they need to close to zero distance. As such, detecting is inevitable, with the real question being at what distance.

Depending on what that distance is, NSM stealth could range from really useful to functionally worthless.

I think any Chinese stealth AShM will be based around the YJ18, or something along those lines, which will use stealth to get close and then rely on speed for last stage penetration based on speed, thereby giving it the best of both worlds.
 

AndrewS

Colonel
Registered Member
In the debate of subsonics vs supersonics, I don’t think either are inherently better than the other. Subsonics provide vastly greater range for the same weight. Supersonics provide superior time to target and a theoretically higher chance of evading ship borne defenses. Although, that’s only if they aren’t detected cruising at 20+ km and engaged by long range SAMs.

As for PLAN vs USN, the comparison cannot be easily made since the the two navies have different ASuW doctrines. Currently, the USN emphasizes aerial platforms for anti-shipping. Its ships are comparatively much worse armed than PLAN’s. Because of the emphasis on aerial platforms, they invested in smaller missiles that can be carried by fighters. The aerial launch platform provides range extension, while the missiles offer attack possibility at stand off range.

The USN has already decided that using aerial platforms for anti-shipping is a losing proposition.
Read some of the reports published by the CSBA.
We've also had various discussions on these sorts of reports on the forum throughout the years.

Weight is not the key criteria for anti-ship missiles.
It only matters for the USN because they have to use expensive bombers and fighter jets to deliver missiles.

If you launch the missiles from land, the weight doesn't matter.
The launcher vehicle is just a cheap truck.
The cost and performance of the missile is more important.


While subsonics may be an easier target for the defense on an individual case, when carried by air platforms, they can saturate the enemy with up to 10 times as many missiles compared to equivalent range supersonics. Such swarming may be enough to deplete defense missile cells or overwhelm the available defensive firepower.

Saturation attacks can work. But look at the geography of the Western Pacific.

Over the Taiwan Straits, I'd expect to see at least a thousand SAMs covering the area. That's from a mix of destroyers, frigates and land-based SAMs

In addition, there would be AWACS and numerous fighter jets shooting down hundreds of LRASMs.
LRASMs are slow and you can't get away from that.

You would be far better off with a smaller number of hypersonic missiles that can avoid fighter jets and the majority of SAM systems.
 

blindsight

Junior Member
Registered Member
And another factor here, if you think forward, your AShM may have to penetrate the future laser-based defense systems. I don't feel subsonic missiles have much chance. On the other hand, faster your AShM, more difficult for the laser system to totally destroy it, especially for the last stage. As long as it hits the ship, even if the warhead has been disabled, it'll still cost a lot of damage due to its residual kinetic energy.
 

Gloire_bb

Senior Member
Registered Member
NSM as a piece of anti-ship missile is unimpressive considering how HGV weapons and AShBM are also anti-ship missiles. They are certainly in a different class but thinking NSM is impressive even if it achieves 1990s range with half the weight is like thinking a 3rd gen fighter is cool and impressive in an era of 5th gen proliferation just because the new 3rd gen fighter is able to offer 3rd gen capability with half the weight or the same weight and twice the usual range.
HGV and AShBM won't really be useful against, for example, VPN Corvette intermixed with various local craft. And these are very dangerous ships.
Light ASCM is meant to be a very universal weapon. Universal secondary weapon on a universal warship (which Frigate is).

Or, say, if maritime militia gives you targeting data on radio-silent LCS/USV trying to be sneaky around 1st Chain - YJ-83 salvo can catch it completely off guard, and the fastest things to react - countermeasures, not weapons - may not be useful against two-band seeker working on a convenient platform.
Supersonic launches are way more visible, hypersonics and AShBMs will warn the whole region about the launch, not just the target. While giving everyone the exact, true, and up-to-date location of the launcher at the same time.

In the end - key consideration here is that we are not discussing missiles per se. Supersonic missiles are cool. Hypersonics even cooler(and expensive, lol).
We're discussing a weapon for a mass-produced frigate, which has to be able to engage all sorts of targets of opportunity, with as little consideration for remaining missile count, all that - while taking as little space as possible. This is a very special sweet spot for a weapon, and sub-1t subsonic missiles fit it very well.
 

ougoah

Colonel
Registered Member
HGV and AShBM won't really be useful against, for example, VPN Corvette intermixed with various local craft. And these are very dangerous ships.
Light ASCM is meant to be a very universal weapon. Universal secondary weapon on a universal warship (which Frigate is).

Or, say, if maritime militia gives you targeting data on radio-silent LCS/USV trying to be sneaky around 1st Chain - YJ-83 salvo can catch it completely off guard, and the fastest things to react - countermeasures, not weapons - may not be useful against two-band seeker working on a convenient platform.
Supersonic launches are way more visible, hypersonics and AShBMs will warn the whole region about the launch, not just the target. While giving everyone the exact, true, and up-to-date location of the launcher at the same time.

In the end - key consideration here is that we are not discussing missiles per se. Supersonic missiles are cool. Hypersonics even cooler(and expensive, lol).
We're discussing a weapon for a mass-produced frigate, which has to be able to engage all sorts of targets of opportunity, with as little consideration for remaining missile count, all that - while taking as little space as possible. This is a very special sweet spot for a weapon, and sub-1t subsonic missiles fit it very well.

Which is why everything from KD-63 to YJ-18 have a place. I didn't suggest HGV and AShBM to be used on Corvettes. They are way too expensive and rare a resource to waste on those, particularly when they wouldn't be protected anywhere near as much as a carrier is protected.

My point is to say that all those weapons have a place in China's anti-shipping arsenal. LRASM equivalent seems to be missing and it is so simply because China as of now has no suitable airborne platform to carry them in large numbers. YJ series are mostly land, submarine or ship launched. There is no evidence a stealthy subsonic LRASM equivalent would be more useful to PLAN than YJ-18 already offers but without the need to spend resources and a decade to develop. It might however be something the PLA looks into for the next generation YJ-18 replacement as it fits the bill. As long as they can make it speed up supersonic and turn in the last few kilometers.

These sea skimming are quite stealthy anyway unless CAP can assist in spotting them and directing interceptors. Stealthiness is honestly of possibly limited value for the cost. It's difficult to say for sure but I'd much rather have HGV antiship missiles and focus on taking on the bigger targets - carriers first. Once those defenses are gone, swarm attacks and attrition is the only true certain way of sinking a fleet. Stealth missiles probably won't work against the USN but 10 times as many sea skimming supersonic ones will erode defenses far more. AShBM and HGVs for higher value and more well defended targets. The game is A2AD and 90% of the battle is subsurface and in the air. LRASM can allow China greater stand off range in case the air is much more heavily contested and there is no equivalent air launched of that volume and weight. Without the H-20 for LRASM type missiles, China has to go with HGVs and AShBM for that stand off range. YJ-18 of course too.
 

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