Recent photos following the construction of the first of the Chinese Navy's new Type 054B frigates suggested an imminent launch. It is now done, the first photos of the ship at its dock having started to circulate on Sunday August 27.
Long awaited , as announced since 2017, the new Type 054B frigate will therefore join the Chinese Navy within a few months, the launch of the first unit having taken place on August 27.
Beyond the event itself, this launch is also an opportunity to confirm or deny the information that had already circulated about this ship destined to become the future high-performance anti-submarine warfare escort. sea of the naval forces of the People's Liberation Army .
The first observation, the most striking when we look at the photos of the new frigate on its work dock, is none other than the immense gap which separates it from the previous model, the Type 054A Jiangkaï II frigate, which entered service from 2008 and produced, so far, 34 examples including four intended for the Pakistani Navy and designated Type 054A/P or Turghril class.
Type 054B will be 50% heavier than Type 054A frigate
Indeed, the Type 054B is much more imposing than its predecessor, with a length of 147 meters compared to 134, as well as a main beam (greater width) of 18 meters compared to 16, and above all a much more streamlined architecture, like, for example, the new FREMM of the Franco-Italian Aquitaine or Bergamini classes.
In fact, it will have a significantly higher tonnage, estimated at 6,000 tons loaded , compared to 4,000 for the Type 054A, and has more space under the superstructures and in the hull, to accommodate its systems and reinforce its survivability to damage and damage.
This increased length also allows it to accommodate a more imposing aviation platform and hangars. Obviously, like the Type 052DL destroyers, the Type 054B will use the new Z-20 naval helicopter, heavier, but also much more efficient than the current Z-9 which arms the Type 054A.
Radar and integrated mature
The third major difference, easily remarkable, of the new frigate with the previous one, is the presence of an integrated mast. The main mast, behind the bridge, supports the new rotary air surveillance radar equipped with two AESA antennas, where the Type 382 radar of the Type 054A, also rotary, uses two PESA antennas like the European FREMMs.
The integrated mast is located on the rear superstructure upstream of the aircraft hangars, and brings together all the antennas and communication systems in a single superstructure, designed to reduce bulk such as the radar signature, as well as electromagnetic interference and physical to the ship's detection systems.
This approach is implemented on most modern Western frigates and corvettes, but it is a first for a Chinese ship.
No information has leaked regarding China's sonar detection of the new ship. However, in this area, the Type 054A, and in particular those of the second batch, sometimes designated A+, were already very well equipped, with a hull sonar, a towed sonar for low frequency passive detection, and a towed sonar with variable depth .
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