Monday, August 4, 2008

F-22P + Thoughts on the 1500 ton class

Before we start, I'd like to just post a few photos I saw recently with F-22P. The first couple of photos are for the first launched ship and the third one is the photo of the second in the class.




So, we've been discussing this possible class on PLA forum for a while. It's commonly acknowledged, that a ship in the class of around 1500 ton displacement is needed to complement the 200+ ton 022 and the 4000+ ton 054 series. I guess it will be classified as an OPV or a Corvette. A while back, I found a couple of online sources that somewhat verified the existence of this program. We still don't know when it will come out, but I think it might be fun to discuss it a little bit. To begin, much of my motivation comes from a recent thread on Chinese bbs regarding this topic.

Just to give you an idea of what the author was proposing, here is a picture of it.


In order to determine what this class will be used for, one should start by looking at comparable ships currently in PLAN. I guess the most obvious one would be the Jianghu class. One can also look at equivalent classes around the world like K-130, Milgem, SAAR 5 and Project 28. The new OPV/Corvette ships are replacing the need for FACs. In many ways, FACs are a concept of the old days. The OPVs and Corvettes can be used for more types of missions in sea areas further off from the shore. The 022 class seems to be well suited for the asymmetrical warfare that PLAN is preparing for the Taiwan Strait, but is probably not useful in too many other places. PLAN simply cannot be considered a true modern navy without a ship of this class.

The obvious missions for this class would be to patrol the South China Sea and East China Sea. The Jianghu class patrolling South China Sea has an endurance of 15 days and range of 4000 nm. K-130 has an endurance of 7-10 days and range of 4000 nm at 15 knots. Milgem has an endurance of 10 days with a range of 3500 nm. The Project 28 class also has an endurance of 15 days and range of 4000 nm. Even the 1200 ton Saar 5 claims to have a range of 4000 nm and 24 days of endurance! These are all supposedly figures for operating alone. I personally doubt Saar 5 are measured under the same condition as K-130/Milgem. Project 28 is larger than the other ships mentioned here, so it should have greater range/endurance. Either way, I'd expect this new OPV to have an endurance of around 7 to 10 days and range of 3500-4000 nm at 15 knots. In many ways, this ship would be replace Type 037 and Jianghu class ships. It would have to take over the ASuW and ASW capabilities of these ships. It might even be expected to have some limited AAW capability.

So, what do I think it will look like. The first question is where it will be a Catamaran design like the diagram, a SWATH design like the new 991 ELINT ship or a traditional V shaped hull. Even though they've been experimenting with 022, 991 and 074A classes, I think they would go with the traditional V shaped hull in this case. I personally like K-130 class quite a bit and hope that they go with something looking like K-130 or Meko A100. I would expect the new OPV to have 2 quad launcher for YJ-83 for ASuW. Similar to 022, it would have some kind of datalink built in to support OTH engagement with targeting provided by aerial assets. It would probably have a hangar that supports a Z-9 to Z-15 sized naval helicopter. The helicopter would provide longer ranged ASW effort. It should also be fitted with a Towed Array sonar system, hull mounted sonar and the associated ASW combat system. I'm not sure if it will have the space to also fit anti-submarine rocket launchers and torpedo launchers. Finally, AAW is an area of mystery for me. I think I can be sure that an AK-176M will be in the front for anti-surface engagements and close-in air defense. However, I'm not sure if the ship will have space for much else. If one of the sources is correct, this ship will have HH-16 for self-defense. In that case, I would expect a 16 cell VLS, 2 FCRs (1 in front/1 in back) and a Sea Eagle search radar to be installed. In that case, the search radar might be a smaller version of the radar installed on 054A, since the OPV may not have the power or the structure to support the one on 054A. If HH-16 cannot be supported, I would guess TY-90 and/or AK-630M would be installed on the OPV for close-in defense. It's too bad that China does not have something a scompact as RAM or Barak VLS. In both cases, an OFC-3/LR-66 (the sensors on Type 730) is likely added to help track sea-skimmers to assist in the air defense. In addition to all of this, the OPV should be installed with decoy launchers and countermeasure systems similar to other ships of this class. The ship will probably be powered by diesel engines from MTU or SEMT Pielstick.

Once this OPV gets developed, China will also be able to market a similar boat for export. As seen with the Malaysians, Indonesians, South African, Vietnamese and Turks, this is quite a growing market. China has already built 2 OPVs for the Royal Thai navy. Designing a successful OPV for PLAN will create a good basis for export plans.

4 comments:

Strategos said...

Great post

It may quite possible that a SWATH hull may be chosen as they are using them in many projects and would create the necessary technology needed.

they can use the HQ-17 (the sa-15 chinese variant) and it is on par and even superior to the Israeli barak. But the HH-16 is not suitable for corvettes due to size and power requirements. the naval hq-7 is low-cost and enough for this vessel.

thx for the post

Feng said...

HQ-17 does not exist. And China never got a naval variant of SA-15. HQ-7 takes almost as much space as HH-16, that's the problem.

jouth said...

解放军未来水面作战系统(1)
2008-06-16 09:08:39 dreamtodeath 大旗军事    【大 中 小】 发表评论
到2020年,美军的 DD1000,LCS 将陆续服役;日本的 19DD 通用驱逐舰,两万吨级的 DDH (直升机 HM 可能搭载 JSF ),已进入东海;韩国的 KDXII, KDX III,大量服役,以及至少 3 艘直升机 HM (有可能搭载 JSF )。解放军2020年后的未来水面作战舰只将面临不现在更加严峻的威胁与挑战。届时,051型旅大级驱逐舰(x14)和90年以前的053型江湖级护卫舰(x29 -053h2之前)都需要替换。以10年后,我国的经济实力和科技水平的预计为基础,此文就我海军未来的水面作战舰只做了一些展望。

http://military.china.com/zh_cn/critical3/27/20080616/14909847.html

Feng said...

i think that article is way too negative. the gap between plan and other navies is only getting smaller.