Type 054B/next generation FFG thread


Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
I don't think IEPS has any conflict with the designation of 054X. Think about it: 055 is the benchmark destroyer line of PLAN and it's supposed to use IEPS in the future (maybe 055A?). I don't expect the future version with IEPS will be called anything other than 055X. The same thing here, the 054B designation doesn't prevent it from using IEPS. If it's called something else, say 057, that should be due to a new type of main engines, likely gas turbines.

If PLAN don't want IEPS at all, they wouldn't have mentioned it and Weiming Ma's team so often. Let's assume the several auxiliary ships with IEPS are actually some testbeds. Obviously, the next step, they should start testing it on real combatants soon. And I don't think it's a good idea to test it on some critical warships, such as 055A or 076. 054B is actually a perfect starting point. On the other hand, if 054B wouldn't incorporate IEPS at all, the changes over 054A should be somethings quite mature, such as new radars and missiles. In that case, they wouldn't need the new batch of 054A, at least not as many as 20 of them. Just add a few more till the first 054B gets launched. Then, they can simply focus on 054B after that.

They have not mentioned IEPS as of late, particularly in the last three years or so.

054X indicates an all diesel propulsion, as in diesels are the ones directly connected to the propeller via CODAD. Would you explain to me if there are any advantages of converting diesel power to electricity then back to mechanical power again? This means generators and electric motors between the diesel and the driving shaft. All diesel to electric should be called Diesel Electric transmission. That's what submarines do, and various trains. If its a gas engine to electric then should it be called Petrol Electric? If its gas turbine to electric, should it be called Turbo-Electric?

IEPS implies you need to have a combination of gas turbines and diesel engines, where the output is electrified and integrated to drive a common set of motors. It would make sense that a frigate with a combined diesel and gas turbine, using electric motors would be called IEPS. But an all diesel to electric setup should be called Diesel Electric and which is century old proven technology.

I also disagree with you about using a lower end warship as a starting point. Both the 056 and 054 series are as conservative as heck. Relative to their time periods, PLAN has been most technologically adventurous with high end platforms, starting with the Han class, the Type 052, then the Type 051B, the 052B, the 051C, the 052C and so on. It goes on to the 055 and the 003.

An IEPS with a combined gas turbine and diesel would have merited an all new designation, like 057 and beyond. Or succeed on a designation that has already used gas turbines before, such as 052X and 055X. I am more prone to think that the IEPS ship you are dreaming about is the 052X, perhaps the 052E.
 

Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
They are also ones to gain the most from IEPS - both due to the typical profile of frigate operations and the need for silent running capability.

Procurement costs v running costs - later typically significantly outweigh the former. It's one of the major IEPS advantages, to begin with.

Not sure if the propulsion scheme is about ambition (when China is known to produce all sorts of them anyways). It has more to do with optimization for the ship in question.

You have to consider the increased weight, complexity, displacement, and lower efficiency for one. Maybe the electric can give you a silent advantage running at low speeds, but for cruising over long distances, which is also a typical profile of frigate operations especially with the 054X series, the diesel excels.

Diesels are simple, its a known and familiar quantity, and you already have a huge ready base of personnel you can rely from that knows how to operate and repair them. If you go IEPS you have to retrain personnel. The PLAN already has a large base of diesel powered ships, not just your 056X and 054X, but 053X, 022, all the replenishment vessels, the 071 and the 075. You have a large base accustomed, if not set in habit to trust the diesel.
 

Gloire_bb

Senior Member
Registered Member
Maybe the electric can give you a silent advantage running at low speeds, but for cruising over long distances, which is also a typical profile of frigate operations especially with the 054X series, the diesel excels.
Erm. IEP silent running can achieve speeds as high as ~15-18 knots(actually achieved) and potentially way higher than that. The importance of this metric is paramount - this is the only way to erode submarines' inherent advantage in mutual detection.
As for diesels - they aren't going anywhere. IEP can be combined with CODAD just fine - giving even higher economic advantages.
Basically - if IEP can be pursued, it should.
 

blindsight

Junior Member
Registered Member
They have not mentioned IEPS as of late, particularly in the last three years or so.

054X indicates an all diesel propulsion, as in diesels are the ones directly connected to the propeller via CODAD. Would you explain to me if there are any advantages of converting diesel power to electricity then back to mechanical power again? This means generators and electric motors between the diesel and the driving shaft. All diesel to electric should be called Diesel Electric transmission. That's what submarines do, and various trains. If its a gas engine to electric then should it be called Petrol Electric? If its gas turbine to electric, should it be called Turbo-Electric?

IEPS implies you need to have a combination of gas turbines and diesel engines, where the output is electrified and integrated to drive a common set of motors. It would make sense that a frigate with a combined diesel and gas turbine, using electric motors would be called IEPS. But an all diesel to electric setup should be called Diesel Electric and which is century old proven technology.

I also disagree with you about using a lower end warship as a starting point. Both the 056 and 054 series are as conservative as heck. Relative to their time periods, PLAN has been most technologically adventurous with high end platforms, starting with the Han class, the Type 052, then the Type 051B, the 052B, the 051C, the 052C and so on. It goes on to the 055 and the 003.

An IEPS with a combined gas turbine and diesel would have merited an all new designation, like 057 and beyond. Or succeed on a designation that has already used gas turbines before, such as 052X and 055X. I am more prone to think that the IEPS ship you are dreaming about is the 052X, perhaps the 052E.
Come on... IEP doesn't specify what types of engines you use. Sure, Diesel-Electric is arguably a type of IEP and it's by no means a new tech. But it's not the same concept as the modern IEP that doesn't merely focus on "propulsion" but is actually more about "integrated". You regulate the main engines for propulsion and the generators all together. Diesels surely have better speed/load characteristics than gas turbine, but still far from perfection. By using IEP, there's still a big margin for diesels to boost overall efficiency. Ma calls their solution with medium-voltage DC distribution the 2nd generation, relative to the current western systems with AC distribution. There's a significant gain brought by the DC distribution. Another factor here is, the modern IEP usually involves energy storage. As far as I know, the Chinese IEP likely incorporates a flywheel energy storage mechanism. Just think about hybrid cars versus traditional cars. IEP optimizes the speed and load for each engine, and therefore boosts its overall efficiency. Gas turbines may gain even more, but it doesn't mean diesels don't have benefits. For surface combatants, future electronic and weapon systems will surely consume a lot more electricity. I do see IEP is a must. As for PLAN's future frigates, it would be good to change to gas turbines for the main propulsion, but all-diesel is also fine. IEP can improve its acoustic characteristics, electricity generation, and average fuel efficiency. Theoretically, it is easier to operate and maintain too.
 

Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
Come on... IEP doesn't specify what types of engines you use. Sure, Diesel-Electric is arguably a type of IEP and it's by no means a new tech. But it's not the same concept as the modern IEP that doesn't merely focus on "propulsion" but is actually more about "integrated". You regulate the main engines for propulsion and the generators all together. Diesels surely have better speed/load characteristics than gas turbine, but still far from perfection. By using IEP, there's still a big margin for diesels to boost overall efficiency. Ma calls their solution with medium-voltage DC distribution the 2nd generation, relative to the current western systems with AC distribution. There's a significant gain brought by the DC distribution. Another factor here is, the modern IEP usually involves energy storage. As far as I know, the Chinese IEP likely incorporates a flywheel energy storage mechanism. Just think about hybrid cars versus traditional cars. IEP optimizes the speed and load for each engine, and therefore boosts its overall efficiency. Gas turbines may gain even more, but it doesn't mean diesels don't have benefits. For surface combatants, future electronic and weapon systems will surely consume a lot more electricity. I do see IEP is a must. As for PLAN's future frigates, it would be good to change to gas turbines for the main propulsion, but all-diesel is also fine. IEP can improve its acoustic characteristics, electricity generation, and average fuel efficiency. Theoretically, it is easier to operate and maintain too.

Connection between Ma's IEPS and 054B is iffy at best. This can be another Internet making connections, then repeatedly passed along the media that people begin to take it as a fact. Because you think its better does not mean it will come true. Its very likely that Ma's IEPS will see an application somewhere but that application is not necessarily the 054B. There are quite a load of even likelier candidates like government operated oceanographic vessels and those SURTASS SWATHs we see around. Every time you see the shipyard in Guandong Huangpu you see loads of both these vessels. Other areas where IEPS or diesel electrics are being used are coast guard vessels and tugs, especially the large deep water navy tug (est. displacement over 6000 tons), things not coincidentally are also made in Guandong Huangpu and other CSSC shipyards.

An enormous reason why the 054A continues to be built might lie in the basis of its platform and this is why the 054B won't rock this boat. Its four diesel powertrain is elegantly simple and rock solid. You also have an enormous base of personnel trained to operate and run it. You may not want to fix what ain't broken. The PLAN can be very conservative in some areas. Regardless of all the technical advantages of IEPS and diesel electric you may lay down, what matters is the way they think, not what you think.

But even if you go IEPS, even if you go diesel-electric, none presents such a deep and complex problem that you need to go feely deely testing it on a few ships before jumping into with both feet. As of late, the PLAN's approach to new ships is binary --- you have to be able to produce a lot of these ships from the get go, or you don't produce them at all. If they are producing 054B with IEPS or diesel electric, this isn't going to be a test batch used to test the waters before going to the next. They will produce the ship for as many as they need and will only end it for various other reasons.
 
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blindsight

Junior Member
Registered Member
Connection between Ma's IEPS and 054B is iffy at best. This can be another Internet making connections, then repeatedly passed along the media that people begin to take it as a fact. Because you think its better does not mean it will come true. Its very likely that Ma's IEPS will see an application somewhere but that application is not necessarily the 054B. There are quite a load of even likelier candidates like government operated oceanographic vessels and those SURTASS SWATHs we see around. Every time you see the shipyard in Guandong Huangpu you see loads of both these vessels. Other areas where IEPS or diesel electrics are being used are coast guard vessels and tugs, especially the large deep water navy tug (est. displacement over 6000 tons), things not coincidentally are also made in Guandong Huangpu and other CSSC shipyards.

An enormous reason why the 054A continues to be built might lie in the basis of its platform and this is why the 054B won't rock this boat. Its four diesel powertrain is elegantly simple and rock solid. You also have an enormous base of personnel trained to operate and run it. You may not want to fix what ain't broken. The PLAN can be very conservative in some areas. Regardless of all the technical advantages of IEPS and diesel electric you may lay down, what matters is the way they think, not what you think.

But even if you go IEPS, even if you go diesel-electric, none presents such a deep and complex problem that you need to go feely deely testing it on a few ships before jumping into with both feet. As of late, the PLAN's approach to new ships is binary --- you have to be able to produce a lot of these ships from the get go, or you don't produce them at all. If they are producing 054B with IEPS or diesel electric, this isn't going to be a test batch used to test the waters before going to the next. They will produce the ship for as many as they need and will only end it for various other reasons

Connection between Ma's IEPS and 054B is iffy at best. This can be another Internet making connections, then repeatedly passed along the media that people begin to take it as a fact. Because you think its better does not mean it will come true. Its very likely that Ma's IEPS will see an application somewhere but that application is not necessarily the 054B. There are quite a load of even likelier candidates like government operated oceanographic vessels and those SURTASS SWATHs we see around. Every time you see the shipyard in Guandong Huangpu you see loads of both these vessels. Other areas where IEPS or diesel electrics are being used are coast guard vessels and tugs, especially the large deep water navy tug (est. displacement over 6000 tons), things not coincidentally are also made in Guandong Huangpu and other CSSC shipyards.

An enormous reason why the 054A continues to be built might lie in the basis of its platform and this is why the 054B won't rock this boat. Its four diesel powertrain is elegantly simple and rock solid. You also have an enormous base of personnel trained to operate and run it. You may not want to fix what ain't broken. The PLAN can be very conservative in some areas. Regardless of all the technical advantages of IEPS and diesel electric you may lay down, what matters is the way they think, not what you think.

But even if you go IEPS, even if you go diesel-electric, none presents such a deep and complex problem that you need to go feely deely testing it on a few ships before jumping into with both feet. As of late, the PLAN's approach to new ships is binary --- you have to be able to produce a lot of these ships from the get go, or you don't produce them at all. If they are producing 054B with IEPS or diesel electric, this isn't going to be a test batch used to test the waters before going to the next. They will produce the ship for as many as they need and will only end it for various other reasons.
Of course I can't be 100% sure that 054B will use IEP. But I feel it's very likely. I've explained why I think so. And if it does, I don't think PLAN will be that confident to mass produce it from the beginning. That holds true for any surface combatant that'll first incorporate IEP. No matter whether it's 054B, 055A or anything else.
 

Tam

Brigadier
Registered Member
Of course I can't be 100% sure that 054B will use IEP. But I feel it's very likely. I've explained why I think so. And if it does, I don't think PLAN will be that confident to mass produce it from the beginning. That holds true for any surface combatant that'll first incorporate IEP. No matter whether it's 054B, 055A or anything else.

Whether or not the 054B will use IEP or straight diesel, it will not be released half baked. There is no "trial period" for 1 to 4 ships. Just not their policy any longer, not the 1990s to early 2000s PLAN here, it will be straight out all gung ho, all gutsy mass produce as many as they need. Their only real bottleneck is the available of trained personnel to fill the ships, and the only time they may pause or stop production is when they have an improved variant under the wings.
 

blindsight

Junior Member
Registered Member
Whether or not the 054B will use IEP or straight diesel, it will not be released half baked. There is no "trial period" for 1 to 4 ships. Just not their policy any longer, not the 1990s to early 2000s PLAN here, it will be straight out all gung ho, all gutsy mass produce as many as they need. Their only real bottleneck is the available of trained personnel to fill the ships, and the only time they may pause or stop production is when they have an improved variant under the wings.
We'll see
 

blindsight

Junior Member
Registered Member
I agree. But remember this, both the 055 and the 075 were produced in their numbers going all out. No more build one or two, then sort out the problems and build the rest. This is a combination of how confident the Chinese shipyards are, and how strict the PLAN has become for QC.
None of them could have any serious issue in design but the all-new IEP system could.
 

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