The Type 053H3 guided-missile frigates were adopted by the modern Chinese Navy (the "People's Liberation Army Navy Surface Force") beginning in the 1990s to succeed the earlier Type 053H2G vessels (both related to the Cold War-vintage Type 053 family of fighting frigates). The H2G ships brought about a broader multi-role capability for the Chinese Navy surface fleet and this was only improved through the succeeding H3 group. The class was built in fourteen total vessels with four of these delivered to the Pakistani Navy. Among their group is CNS Yichang (564).
The Type 053H3 ships are known to NATO as the "Jiangwai II-class". The Type 053H2G are, therefore, "Jiangwei I-class" vessels.
CNS Yichang was buitl by Guangzhou Shipbuilders during the 1990s and saw formal commissioning during December of 1999. She is assigned to the East Sea Fleet and is an active participant of ongoing Chinese fleet actions today (2018) - as well as forming a vital part of Chinese naval surface capabilities.
As guided-missile cruisers, these warships are given the capability to assess threats and react at range. As such their armament scheme is largely led by missile-minded weaponry capable of reaching out vast distances at a fast closing speed. Conventional weapons can then be used as ranges close in and can also aid in shelling inshore positions during an amphibious assault.
CNS Yichang is designed and built to the established Type 053H3 frigate standard and, as such, is outfitted with a conventional CODAD (COmbined Diesel-And-Diesel) propulsion scheme involving 2 x 18E390VA diesel units rated at 23,600 horsepower and 2 x MTU diesel units rated at 8,715 horsepower. The developed power is used to drive 2 x Shafts under stern and propel the ship to speeds reaching 28 knots out to ranges of 5,000 nautical miles. This gives the warship fuel efficiency, good speed, and good range for a ship of this type.
Aboard is a slew of modern processing systems and sensors including the Type 360 series surface-search radar, the Type 517H-1 2D long-range air-search radar, and the Type 345/352 units for fire-control. In addition to this the ship carries interception systems, a jamming suite, and a Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) to counter inbound threats. 2 x Type 946/PL-46 15-barrel rocket launchers can be used to fire off decoys to further help protect the ship from prying eyes (and ears).
Armament consists of 8 x YJ-83 surface-to-surface missile launchers in twin 4-cell units. There is also a single 8-cell unit for HQ-7 surface-to-air missiles. Conventional armament is led by the 100mm PJ33A twin-gunned turreted deck weapon over the forecastle. There are also 4 x 37mm Type 76A turrets for an additional, close-in Anti-Aircraft (AA) measure. 2 x Type 3200 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) six-tube launchers are used against undersea threats as are 2 x Depth charge racks / launchers for submarine hunting. 6 x Torpedo launchers round out the armament fit.
Over the stern of the Yichang's design is a full-service hangar-flight deck combination helipad. This serves a single Harbin Z-9C medium-lift navalized helicopter (or similar). This rotary-wing platform can be outfitted with modern anti-ship / anti-submarine warfare equipment, further broadening the reach of this potent warship. The Z-9 is a licensed variant of the French-made Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter) AS365 "Dauphin" medium-class multirole utility helicopter.
Yichang, and her sister ships, are crewed by about 168 personnel. Displacement is 2,250 tons under standard loads and up to 2,400 tons under full loads. Dimensions include a running length of 367.4 feet, a beam measuring 40.7 feet, and a draught down to 14 feet.
The Type 053H3 ships have, themselves, been succeeded (at least on paper) by the Type 054 fighting frigate group. These are more modern alternatives for the Chinese surface fleet, entailing greater attention to stealth features including slab sides and enclosed protrusions. They maintain a guided-missile / multi-role frigate classification but only number two ships completed. They have been succeeded by the Type 054A frigates since their introduction and this group now numbers over twenty-five vessels - showcasing just how far Chinese warship engineers have come along in a relatively short amount of time.