Type 053H2G Jiangwei I class Frigates (1990)
Based on the classic NATO: Jianghu class (Type 053H), the Type 053H2G seems to be a derivative of the same lineage but in reality it’s its own class altogether and is separated in all publications and by all authors as the magnitude of changes in important.
The 053H at large is about a frigate format that was defined in the 1970s. In between China opened to the West and accessed to a large array of equipments, from propulsion to fire control management, radars, armaments, missiles and countermeasures.
Type 053H2 Frigate -Jianghu (Conways)
The Jiangwei class is well competent for a range of missions in offshore waters including surface strike, antisubmarine warfare, coastal patrol, fire support, and other general duties. Despite being described as modest in term of technology and capability, this 053H2G class is still regarded to be a highly successful Frigate design by the PLAN. Packing much firepower, this frigate’s cost is half a Type 052 destroyer (Luhu class), with a combat effectiveness almost 8/10 equivalent. This performance-price ratio made this model attractive on the export market and therefore motivated Sri Lanka to purchase one, although rated as a coast guard ship.
The previous 053H2:
The H2 and H2G seems related but they shared few characteristics: Both had a massive superstructure running along the hull.
Four Type 053H2G were built between 1988 and 1991, and some sources argue their denomination should be Type 055, because they carry the HQ-7 SAMs. However this alternative designation could be confusion with the actual Type 053H2G development serie.
The 053H2 had an enlarged hull and was considered really modern for Chinese standards. They had airtight cabins, a modern central air conditioning system, NBC protection and the fully integrated Western-type integrated combat system ZKJ-3A.
The EH-5 sonar had integrated circuits and the ships carried eight SSN YJ-8/YJ-82 antiship missiles plus four modern twin Type 79A, rapid-fire automatic 100mm guns. They were quite a leap forward and served with East Sea Fleet in 1997 and from 2006 the only one in service was transferred to the North Chinese fleet and the last two were sold to Bangladesh.
Development of the 053H2G:
Huainan (540) Type 053H2G, NATO Jiangwei-I
In the 1980s, the PLAN ordered the Hudong Shipyard of Shanghai (Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard) to study a replacement for the Type 053K. This was an air defence frigate. The design bureau started on the basis of a Type 053H2 frigate, therefore designated Type 053H2G, the “G” standing for the anti-aircraft nature. The program was called Project 055.
The final design of the anti-ship Frigate displaced 2,250 tons standard for 2,393 tons fully loaded, a length of 112 m, beam of 12.4 m and draught of 4.3 m. They carried 168 men, including 30 officers.
Closeup of FFG 539 Anquing
The Chinese Frigates relied on a sturdy but modern, Western-influence CODAD system (Combined diesel and diesel) mated on two shaft. The units were 18E390VA diesel, rated for 14,000 hp or 10.4 MW, coupled to two German MTU diesel rated themselves for 8,840 hp (6.6 MW). This enabled a top speed of 28 knots, and a range of 5,000 miles at 15-16 knots (30 km/h).
This was pretty exhaustive for such a small package, and clearly shows the anti-ship specialization of these Frigates.
- Six YJ-83 SSM in two triple cell box launchers either side
- Six cells with HQ-61 Surface-to-air missile system
- One PJ33A dual 100 mm gun (automatic)
- Four Type 76A dual-37 mm AA guns
- Two 6-tube Type 3200 ASW rocket launchers (36 rockets)
- Two DC racks & launcher
- Six torpedo launchers 324 mm ASW
- Two decoy racks Type 946/PJ-46 15-barrel rocket launchers
- Harbin Z-9C ASW/SAR helicopters
These “exocet clones” (as testifies by their French TRI 60-2 turbojet or equivalent) were called locally 鹰击-83; or yingji-83 (‘eagle strike’). NATO reporting name CSS-N-8 Saccade. This is a subsonic anti-ship cruise missile, capable of a range of 180 km on its basic version, up to 200 on the K version. Able of very low flight at Mach 0.9, their Guidance system uses Inertial navigation and an active radar homing terminal guidance. The YJ-83 carries a 190 kg high-explosive fragmentation. The model is currently in use in seven navies around the world.
Ship’s twin mount HQ-61 Source
The Hóng Qí-61 (‘Red Banner’) is the first generation Chinese PLAN SAM deployed in 1988. Able of Mach 3, it weights 310 kg for 3.99 meter long, a Wingspan of 1.166 meter and a diameter of 286 mm. It carried a high explosive warhead with an Impact/Proximity fuse.
It is propelled by a solid fuel rockets, with an Operational range of 10 km and a flight ceiling of 8 km.
Type 3200 ASW rocket launcher
These are six-tubed Type 3200 ASW (Antiship Submarine Warfare) rocket launchers placed on the bow deck. Each is supplied with 36 rockets in all. Each rocket has a 34kg warhead. Maximum range is 1,200m and oher systems includes two depth charge racks.
Harbin Z-9 onboard Frigate Yi Yang. These were given a hangar with full management and supplies
The Processing systems comprised a Type 360 Radar (SR60) for Surface Search working on E/F band, a Type 517H-1 (NATO Knife Rest) 2D long-range air search and A-band, a Type 345 Radar (MR35) to guide Surface-to-air missiles and assist the 100 mm gun for fire-control, working on J-band. The Frigates also comprised a type 352 Radar (NATO Square Tie) for surface search, and SSM fire control working on I-band.
For the fire control of the light AA dual 37 mm guns, a Type 347G/EFR-1 (NATO Rice Lamp) working on I-band, was used. There were also two Racal RM-1290 Navigation radars working on I-band.
The Electronic warfare suite comprised a Data link HN-900 (Chinese equivalent to Link 11A/B), a Western style SNTI-240 SATCOM, a Combat Data System ZKJ-3C and RWD-8 (NATO Jug Pair) for interception, and a Type 981-3 EW Jammer. They carried also a SR-210 Radar warning receiver and Type 651A IFF (Aerial Identification, friend or foe). The next generation H3 is given a Thomson-CSF TAVITAC, later replicated as the Chinese ZKJ-4B/6) combat data system, capable of handling simultaneously several hundreds of targets and manage all weapons systems.
Changes on the Type 053H2G
The Type 053H2G type frigate was a bit larger than the H2, and fitted with the HQ-61B surface-to-air missiles (SAM).
The HQ-61 SAM proved unsatisfactory and the class was superseded by the Type 053H3 which was an improved Type 053H2G equipped with HQ-7 SAMs.
The Type 053H2G in action:
All three Frigates were reclassed as coast guard Frigates.
All four ships were built at Hudong yard, the first launched in June 1990 and completed in July 1992. She served like all other four in the East Sea Fleet. She was decommissioned in 2015, transferred to the Coast Guard as Patrol Ship #31239, extant since.
The second ship, Huainan was launched in December 1990 , completed in December 1992 also for the East Sea Fleet and Decommissioned in 2015 to be reaffected as Coast Guard Patrol Ship #31240.
The third vessel (541) or Huaibei was launched also in December 1992, completed in July 1993 for the East Sea Fleet and decommissioned also in 2015 to be transferred as Coast Guard Patrol Ship #31241. The fourth Frigate, 542 or Tongling was launched in December 1993 and completed in July 1994. She was also decommissioned in 2015, but was the only one transferred to the Sri Lanka Navy in September 2018, renamed P625. There has been no particular event associated with these ships, kept “under bell” for a future possible overhaul in case of a crisis. This service could be seen as a semi-active reserve.
Despite of their versatility, these Frigates has been replaced after about twenty years of service by more capable Type 053H3 (NATO Jiangwei-II) ships, and in total so far in the 1990s, ten Frigates of the Jiangwei II type has been delivered.
About Sri Lanka P25 Frigate
Sri Lanka P625 leaves China for Sri Lanka in June 2019. After 21 years or service with PLAN it is supposed to stay active as a patrol vessel.
This transfer came as a surprise and was wildly discussed in specialized press. It was officially a “gift” to the relatively small Sri Lanka Navy, a motley collection of ships of various origins and green water capabilities. Therefore in September 2018, the vessel underwent a refit and new pennant number P 625, indicating a patrol vessel use rather than regular frigate. So it does not balance up the potential of this local naval power. The ship was officially handed over in June 2019 and is supposed to be active in the end of the year.
Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1947-95
Toppan, Andrew. “World Navies Today: Chinese Surface Combatants
On sinodefence.com (archived)