Type 054B/next generation FFG thread


Tam

Major
Registered Member
Before we begin the conversation about what the next PLAN Frigate/Destroyer will be, we need to understand what role this vessel will play in an ocean-going fleet? Will it be a general purpose vessel, or will it focus on ASW? ASW is an identified area for development by the PLAN. We should expect the PLAN to be focused on addressing this area. If they do, we should expect that the next fleet-capable ship to have a focus on ASW, rather than being a very useful but broad spectrum support vessel. If it does, we should expect it to be able to hangar two Z-20s, and have the full suite of ASW weapons and sensors. While vessels around 4000 tonnes can hangar 2 x medium sized helicopters (such as the old FFG7 Oliver Hazzard Perry Frigates at c. 4200 tonnes), they do not have the full ASW capability. At a minimum we should expect the next major surface combatant to be at c.5000 tonnes or greater. Remembering the adage that "steel is cheap and air is free", additional tonnage is not really a cost imperative, dependant upon sensor fit.
This kind of question is better answered when we finally get pictures of the ship. I do hope and sure it should be common sense, that the helo deck should be long enough for the Z-20 naval helicopter. Now its a question if they want to put one or two.

Anyway, I noticed Icloo posted this in the PDF, although he's also a member in the SDF, probably forgot to post here too.

Screenshot 2020-06-22 at 1.51.13 PM - Edited.png

No surprise that the new 054A++ frigates are going to be made in Guangzhou Huangpu, with HDZ tied up with the 075, the Thai 071E and the Pakistan 054A/P projects.

During the height of Type 054A and 056 construction, we used to have a ton of pictures coming from these shipyards. They also made the new ELINT ships (Type 815G?), the new blue water tugboat, and that SWATH SURTASS ships. They have been making 054A derived cutters for the CCG. Their CCG contracts may have done at this point.

China_28th_Type_054A_Frigate_for_PLAN_2.jpg

Given the size of these sheds, I don't expect the new 054A to fall far from the tree. Might be interesting to see if there is any length extension on the helicopter deck for larger helicopters.
 

Tam

Major
Registered Member
It looks like they will be cranking out type 054 variants here soon.
Sorry that's an old pic, I use it only to explain that the paparazzi need to pay attention to this shipyard once again to catch the new 054A variants there.
 

supersnoop

Junior Member
Registered Member
Question for the more knowledgeable:
What would the advantage/disadvantage be of 2-face w/ mechanical rotation vs 4-face radar?

If I understand correctly, 4 face radar would give full 360 search coverage with less latency, which could be important against new generation of supersonic AShM.

However, it looks like you can have larger array with 2 face which might give longer range which could mitigate the latency?
 

Josh Luo

Senior Member
Registered Member
This kind of question is better answered when we finally get pictures of the ship. I do hope and sure it should be common sense, that the helo deck should be long enough for the Z-20 naval helicopter. Now its a question if they want to put one or two.

Anyway, I noticed Icloo posted this in the PDF, although he's also a member in the SDF, probably forgot to post here too.

View attachment 61274

No surprise that the new 054A++ frigates are going to be made in Guangzhou Huangpu, with HDZ tied up with the 075, the Thai 071E and the Pakistan 054A/P projects.

During the height of Type 054A and 056 construction, we used to have a ton of pictures coming from these shipyards. They also made the new ELINT ships (Type 815G?), the new blue water tugboat, and that SWATH SURTASS ships. They have been making 054A derived cutters for the CCG. Their CCG contracts may have done at this point.

View attachment 61276

Given the size of these sheds, I don't expect the new 054A to fall far from the tree. Might be interesting to see if there is any length extension on the helicopter deck for larger helicopters.
Still remember traveling to the Whampoa Military Academy museum on a tour bus, and the bus drove pass this spot right-on.
 

Bhurki

Junior Member
Registered Member
Question for the more knowledgeable:
What would the advantage/disadvantage be of 2-face w/ mechanical rotation vs 4-face radar?

If I understand correctly, 4 face radar would give full 360 search coverage with less latency, which could be important against new generation of supersonic AShM.

However, it looks like you can have larger array with 2 face which might give longer range which could mitigate the latency?
All depends on set of inbound targets that the radar is supposed to counter.
4 face radar provides better search and acqui for saturated attacks from multiple angles simultaneously.
If your target set is controlling 200+ km radius of airspace, then 4 face is better.
If it is a radius of 100+ km which is relevant to a frigate class, then 2 face rotating radar + x band tracker equivalent to a destroyer class is quite a good cost/capability proposition.
 

Tam

Major
Registered Member
Question for the more knowledgeable:
What would the advantage/disadvantage be of 2-face w/ mechanical rotation vs 4-face radar?

If I understand correctly, 4 face radar would give full 360 search coverage with less latency, which could be important against new generation of supersonic AShM.

However, it looks like you can have larger array with 2 face which might give longer range which could mitigate the latency?
Phase arrays have some transmission loss when the beam is steered off directly boresight from its plane, with more losses the more the beam is steered off center. Likewise, its also loses receive gain. When you have a fixed four set, the strength of the radar signal is not even, and there is going to be four weaker zones around the corners of each face. Rotary antenna gives an even signal around a 360 degree field. In fact the beam need not be steered electronically, it can be steered around horizontally with its mechanical rotation.

But that's not the main reason why the rotary is used. The main reason is cost. One face is cheaper than two and two is cheaper than four. Each module in an AESA can cost as much as a small car, and there can be thousands in a single face. If your cost and thermal budget is say, 4000 elements, you have greater range if you put all of them in one single face of 4,000 elements than divide them into four faces of 1000 elements each. Dual face with 2,000 elements each would be between.

The one face or dual face is also lighter, which enables you to put the radar up higher which gives you a longer radar horizon, which makes more advanced warning of low flying sea skimming antiship missiles possible. You can also put a four face up high too, but the total set would need to be light, resulting in smaller faces, so you're back comparing a single face with 4,000 elements vs. dual face with 2,000 elements each, vs. 4 faces with 1,000 elements each.

Of course, the four face has 360 degrees coverage simultaneously, the one face has to turn around for the 360 degrees and the rate of rotation is important. The dual face doubles the rate of rotating updates, sitting between the two.

One disadvantage of the rotary set is mechanical wear and tear, the radar has to be periodically taken down for overhaul. We see this happen on the Type 054A, where the top radar is removed for overhaul.

Another disadvantage is that if the radar has to be put on top of a mast, there is a weight and thermal budget that goes along. The radar cannot be very large, it cannot be very heavy for obvious reasons. The space is limited which limits how much heat it is allowed to generate internally, which curbs its power, and therefore its range.

One advantage which applies to fixed AESAs only is that superstructure and mast mounted fixed AESAs allow backside access for the crew to replace defective modules during the sea. After this, the radar can be recalibrated while on sea --- which can explain the calibration booms you see on the 052C and 052D --- although this system can, should and was replaced with an internal system later. If the AESA is mounted on a rotary, there is no access to it and repairs can only be done on port.

Rotary AESA can deal with supersonic ASM, or at least that is what the advertising for such radars will tell you.

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It doesn't need to spin very fast constantly. It can slow down, so the face is allowed to dwell on the target longer. If the radar is turning in one direction, the tracking beam can contra rotate, which also allows a longer dwell time on the target. Remember the array allows an X and Y scan, compared to search radars that only electronically scan vertically, and need to be mechanically turned around for horizontal scan, like the Type 382.
 

supersnoop

Junior Member
Registered Member
Phase arrays have some transmission loss when the beam is steered off directly boresight from its plane, with more losses the more the beam is steered off center. Likewise, its also loses receive gain. When you have a fixed four set, the strength of the radar signal is not even, and there is going to be four weaker zones around the corners of each face. Rotary antenna gives an even signal around a 360 degree field. In fact the beam need not be steered electronically, it can be steered around horizontally with its mechanical rotation.

But that's not the main reason why the rotary is used. The main reason is cost. One face is cheaper than two and two is cheaper than four. Each module in an AESA can cost as much as a small car, and there can be thousands in a single face. If your cost and thermal budget is say, 4000 elements, you have greater range if you put all of them in one single face of 4,000 elements than divide them into four faces of 1000 elements each. Dual face with 2,000 elements each would be between.

The one face or dual face is also lighter, which enables you to put the radar up higher which gives you a longer radar horizon, which makes more advanced warning of low flying sea skimming antiship missiles possible. You can also put a four face up high too, but the total set would need to be light, resulting in smaller faces, so you're back comparing a single face with 4,000 elements vs. dual face with 2,000 elements each, vs. 4 faces with 1,000 elements each.

Of course, the four face has 360 degrees coverage simultaneously, the one face has to turn around for the 360 degrees and the rate of rotation is important. The dual face doubles the rate of rotating updates, sitting between the two.

One disadvantage of the rotary set is mechanical wear and tear, the radar has to be periodically taken down for overhaul. We see this happen on the Type 054A, where the top radar is removed for overhaul.

Another disadvantage is that if the radar has to be put on top of a mast, there is a weight and thermal budget that goes along. The radar cannot be very large, it cannot be very heavy for obvious reasons. The space is limited which limits how much heat it is allowed to generate internally, which curbs its power, and therefore its range.

One advantage which applies to fixed AESAs only is that superstructure and mast mounted fixed AESAs allow backside access for the crew to replace defective modules during the sea. After this, the radar can be recalibrated while on sea --- which can explain the calibration booms you see on the 052C and 052D --- although this system can, should and was replaced with an internal system later. If the AESA is mounted on a rotary, there is no access to it and repairs can only be done on port.

Rotary AESA can deal with supersonic ASM, or at least that is what the advertising for such radars will tell you.

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

It doesn't need to spin very fast constantly. It can slow down, so the face is allowed to dwell on the target longer. If the radar is turning in one direction, the tracking beam can contra rotate, which also allows a longer dwell time on the target. Remember the array allows an X and Y scan, compared to search radars that only electronically scan vertically, and need to be mechanically turned around for horizontal scan, like the Type 382.
So the explanation makes sense for the future PLAN FFG to adopt a 2 face radar if the displacement is roughly 5000 tons. This is especially true if the fitment is more for ASW than AAW (if sailing in a group with 052X and 055, doesn't make sense to also have FFG also geared for AAW).

On smaller ships employing 4 faced radars (Future FFG-X Korea and the Poliment on Admiral Gorshkov, or even the the export model from the 054A thread), it would almost seem like a suboptimal arrangement with all the extra cooling required to support the multiple arrays.
 

Tam

Major
Registered Member
So the explanation makes sense for the future PLAN FFG to adopt a 2 face radar if the displacement is roughly 5000 tons. This is especially true if the fitment is more for ASW than AAW (if sailing in a group with 052X and 055, doesn't make sense to also have FFG also geared for AAW).

On smaller ships employing 4 faced radars (Future FFG-X Korea and the Poliment on Admiral Gorshkov, or even the the export model from the 054A thread), it would almost seem like a suboptimal arrangement with all the extra cooling required to support the multiple arrays.
You have to remember that efficiency, as in cost-optimal, isn't the same as redundancy. I don't know about the future Korean FFG-X, but the Russians tend to emphasize more on redundancy. For example, in a European radar design like Thales STIR, you have a fire control radar all in one that handles gunnery, antiship and missile target illumination. For the Russians they would put this into three separate radar sets, each dedicated to one function, e.g. MR123 Kite Screech, Mineral ME, MR90 Orekh. Sure it costs more, weighs more, uses more power, but if one breaks, the other still works and won't take down your entire functionality, not to mention redundancy also means they are able to multitask more.

If a bearing breaks in your rotating two face, the whole set ceases to work and the ship will have to cancel its mission. That's not going to happen with a fixed four set, and you have the additional bonus of having the set being able to be repaired at sea by accessing the panel at the back. This one is not the Admiral Gorshkov but Project 20385 Gremyaschy. Shows you the radars that are integrated to the mast with back access from the inside. Note that even with two sets of fixed face radars, they still have to add a rotating search radar on the top. On the Gorshkov, you not only have the four faces of the Poliments radar around the mast, but you have the rotating search radar Furke on top. The Gremyaschy's Zaslon set is an evolution to the set you have on the Gorshkov.


CM8UnCI (1).jpg
 

snake65

Junior Member
VIP Professional
The integrated mast on 20385 has S-band rotating single-face Furke for volume search of surface/air targets on the top, fixed four-face X-band Zaslon (derived from MiG-31 fighter radar) for SAM/artillery fire control in the middle and the lowest set of four faces is passive/active ESM (S, C, X, Ku band)/ECM (X, Ku band) set also used for OTH of AShM.
 

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