China intends to sell domestic designed and developed guided-missile frigates to Russia as a substitute for the obsolete vessels currently in service with the Russian Navy. It is the first time ever that China is trying to sell a sophisticated domestically developed defense system to a major technological and military power, like Russia.
The vessel that China is promoting to the Russian Navy is the Type 054A frigate, which was introduced to the Chinese Navy on 2007.
Since then 18 vessels have been built and commissioned, while six more are under construction.
In total the Chinese Navy is planning to receive in the near future 24 Type 054A frigates.
The displacement of the Chinese vessel is 4,053 tones, the length 134,1 meters and its beam 16 meters.
The propulsion system of the Type 54A frigate is consisted of four Shaanxi 16PA6 STC diesel engines (7,600 hp each ), which allow the vessel to achieve maximum speed of 27 knots.
The electronic equipment and sensors suites of the Type 054A frigate are:
(i) one Type 382, 3D air/surface search radar,
(ii) one Type 344 OTH target acquisition and surface to surface missile (SSM) radar,
(iii) four Type 345 surface to air missile (SAM) fire control radars,
(iv) one MR-36A surface search radar,
(v) one Type 347G fire control radar (FCR) for the 76mm naval gun
(vi) two Racal RM-1290 navigation radars,
(vii) MGK-335 medium frequency active/passive sonar system,
(viii) ZKJ-4B/6 combat data system,
(ix) HN-900 data link system (Link11A/B system), and finally SNTI-240 SATCOM.
Furthermore the Chinese frigate is equipped with the HZ-100 ECM and ELINT System, the Kashtan-3M missile jamming system and the Type 922-1 radar warning receiver
The armament of the Type 54A frigate includes, 32 cell VLS HQ-16 SAM, (a copy of the Russian system 3S90E ‘Shtil-1’ (SA-N-12)), 8 Chinese made C-803 SSM, one Chinese made PJ26 76 mm naval gun, two Type 730 seven barrel 30mm CIWS Gatling gun, 2×3 YU-324 mm ASW torpedo launchers, two Type 726-4 18 tube decoy rocket launchers and 2×6 Type 87 240 mm anti-submarine rocket launchers .
The Chinese frigate carries also one Ka-28 Helix Russian made, ASW helicopter.
The most important advantage of the Type 054A frigate is the origin of its equipment which is mostly based on Russian technology.
According to Alexander Mozgovoy, a Russian defense expert,
“The Type 054A frigates’ weapons and electronic equipment can easily be replaced with domestic alternatives”.
As he mentioned on Want China Times website,
“The performance of Type 054A frigates, including their weapons systems, stealth capability, seaworthiness and endurance, are in line with the requirements of modern frigates. If China successfully sells its Type 054A to Russia, it will boost the reputation of Chinese defense industry”.
Two Chinese Type 54A frigates are going to participate in the joint naval exercises with the Russian Navy later this month in the Mediterranean Sea.
This will be a fine opportunity for the Chinese to demonstrate the capabilities of their ships to the Russian Navy which struggles to build as many as possible new surface vessels, in order to gain the lost ground of the previous decade, when the problems of the Russian economic did not allow any major ship building programme.