The Type 054A-class frigate represents one of the more important groups of surface combatants for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China. The value of these multi-mission-minded ships is such that some fifty total are planned for the class with some thirty-one already in service today (2021). These warships offer excellent speed, range, and firepower for their design, giving tactical flexibility to the service in a region of the world that continually drifts towards an arms race and instability.
One of the Type 054A-class ships is CNS Yantai (538). She was constructed at the Huangpu Shipyard (Shanghai) and launched in August of 2010. She was formally commissioned into service during June 2011 and remains in active service (2021).
As built, the warship displaces 4,465 tons under full loads and has a bow-to-stern length of 440 feet with a beam measuring 52 feet. Power is through a COmbined Diesel-And-Diesel (CODAD) arrangement involving 4 x Shaanxi 16 PA6 STC diesel engines outputting 7,600 horsepower each and used to drive 2 x Shafts astern. This propels the ship to speeds of 27 knots out to a range of over 9,000 miles.
Aboard is a crew of 165 and installed systems include the Type 382 and Type 344 radars, four Type 345 Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) radars, the Type 347G fire control radar/director, and twin Racal RM-1290 series navigation I-band radars. As with other modern warships, Yantai is outfitted with a hull-mounted and towed sonar array (MGK-335 and H/SJG-206, respectively). The SNTI-240 and AKD5000S Ku band systems make up the SATCOM links while the Type 922-1, HZ,100, and Kashtan-3 systems handle Electronic Warfare (EW).
Armament is a mix of ballistic and missile weapons. Over the forecastle is a single 76mm Dual-Purpose (DP) turreted deck gun. 1 x 32-cell Vertical Launch System (VLS) is fitted for the launching of HQ-16 Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) and/or Yu-8 Anti-Submarine ROCkets (ASROCs). There are twin quadruple missile launchers for C-803 series anti-ship / land attack cruise missiles. Beyond this are twin 30mm Type 730 Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs) and 2 x 324mm Yu-7 triple torpedo tubes.
As with other ships in the class, the Yantai is built with stealth in mind by way of a slab-sided superstructure, continuous (unbroken) hull line, and enclosed/low-profile installations. The forecastle's lone primary protrusion is the turret while the superstructure houses the bridge section, main (enclosed) mast, low-profile (enclosed) smoke funnels, and integrated hangar facilities for the attached helipad. The helipad can launch and retrieve a single medium-lift type while the hangar provides full servicing of another such rotorcraft.
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1 x 76mm PJ26 turreted deck gun (Dual Purpose).
1 x 32-cell Vertical Launch System (VLS) housing HQ-16 Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) and/or Yu-8 Anti-Submarine ROCkets (ASROCs).
8 x C-803 Anti-Ship Missiles (ASMs) OR land-attack cruise missiles in twin quadruple launchers.
2 x 30mm Type 730 Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs).
12 x 240mm Type 87 ASROC launchers in twin six-shot emplacements.
2 x 18-tube Type 726-4 decoy rocket launchers.
2 x 324mm triple torpedo tubes.
1 OR 2 x Medium-lift navy helicopter, typically Kamov Ka-28 "Helix" type or Harbin Z-9C model, equipped for various roles including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW); full-service hangar attached to helipad.
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