Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

China Debuts Aegis Destroyers
SIGNAL: AFCEA Official Publication ^ | July 2005 | James C. Bussert

Posted on 07/08/2005 10:27:26 AM PDT by spetznaz

A coastal force extends its reach and capabilities.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy recently introduced two domestically designed and built guided missile destroyers that include Aegis-type radars and related technologies. Known as Project 052C guided missile destroyers (DDGs), the ships feature Aegis-type phased array panels, vertical launch systems, long-range missiles and considerable command and control. These capabilities were not found on any previous Chinese-built DDGs.

The design of a lead ship with prototype Aegis radar, combat direction links and a vertical launch system (VLS) into a small 6,600-ton hull is an ambitious development. The smallest U.S. Navy Aegis ship with VLS is the 8,400-ton Arleigh Burke-class DDG 51. Russia had its Aegis-equivalent Sky Watch system only on 30,000-ton aircraft carriers. The nine years of sea test development prior to the U.S. Navy’s first installing Aegis on the warship USS Ticonderoga CG 47 indicates the complexity and the engineering effort necessary to build a successful Aegis system. The fact that the Soviet Union gave up on an Aegis system after years of frustrating problems on two warships also shows the extreme difficulties.

China is building only two 052C ships, and the next ship under construction will have a different Aegis and VLS suite. Even so, the mere existence of People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) warships with long-range phased array radar, communications to other naval assets and over-the-horizon ship-to-ship missiles (SSMs) complicates planning by other naval powers for the Taiwan Straits or other disputed Pacific Ocean waters.

The first sea platform for the U.S. Navy Aegis was the trial ship USS Norton Sound AVM-1 in 1974. The first warship full-up four-panel Aegis system was on the Ticonderoga in 1983, which had 50 meters between the fore and aft deckhouse arrays. The first Aegis destroyer with the single deckhouse array SPY-1D was the 8,400-ton Arleigh Burke lead ship in 1989. More than 50 DDG 51-class ships have been built in this highly successful and constantly upgraded class of warships. All cruiser and destroyer SPY-1 variant antennas are 3.7 meters in diameter and measure 13.5 meters vertically, and they have an F-band frequency of from 3100 to 3500 megahertz.

In 1988, the Soviet Union installed its first Aegis-type Sky Watch on two full-deck aircraft carriers. Each of the four square-plate phased array antennas measured about 5 meters in diameter, and their frequency was estimated to be F-band at about 850 megahertz. This is similar to the Top Plate radar that was mounted on previous Soviet carriers for long-range detection. The port array was 60 meters forward from the starboard array.

The Soviets seem to have had considerable trouble in exercises with their Gorshkov phased array radar, as mechanical scanning Top Sail/Top Pair radars replaced it on the next Soviet carrier, the Tblisi. Sea operations attempting to successfully target incoming threats using external ship or aircraft platforms also seem to have failed.

China’s first 6,600-ton missile destroyer with an Aegis-type four-plate phased array antenna is the Lanzhou DDG 170 launched in Jiangnan Shipyard in April 2003. The DDG 171 followed six months later. Their undesignated Chinese radar is different from the Aegis or Sky Watch phased array radars. This radar is C-band instead of L- or F-band, and it has convex curved arrays instead of flat panels. The four arrays are 4.6 meters high x 3.9 meters wide, and they face out from the forward deckhouse as on the U.S. DDG 51. China reportedly has purchased two advanced Russian phased array radars for a follow-on larger air defense DDG 103 ship that is under construction at the Dalien shipyard. The short one- or two-ship production runs are a trademark of post-Luda DDG designs.

When the U.S. Navy installed its first MK 41 VLS on the Ticonderoga-class Aegis cruiser CG-52 in 1989, it featured 64 missile cells forward and 32 cells aft. The MK 41 VLS cells launch multiwarfare missiles. The first Russian VLS trials were with SAN-6 missiles on the fourth Kara cruiser in 1977, and the 8,000-ton Udaloy DDG had eight SAN-9 VLS hatches. Both SAN-6 and SAN-9 VLS systems featured round modules with eight cells each and had a large unique Top Dome or Cross Sword acquisition and guidance fire control director and radar/datalink.

The PLAN DDG 170 and 171 feature six HHQ-9 VLS launcher modules forward of the bridge and two aft by the helicopter hanger. At first glance the Chinese VLS launcher looks like the Russian VLS, but there are major differences. The Chinese VLS modules each have two fewer cells than the original Soviet VLS, and the Russian VLS has only one hatch, as eight cells with blow-out patches rotate under it to launch. The rationale that the Russian eight-cell modules were too large for the smaller Chinese DDG hull does not seem valid because the diameter of the Russian module is only 1.5 feet larger than the Chinese module. Possibly, China used S-300 missiles, and Russia provided no naval SAN-6 equipment.

The Chinese VLS has a hinged hatch above each cell and launches each with no rotation needed. China uses a cold launch technique, as does Russia, which eliminates the complex smoke and flame ducts required by the U.S. Navy’s MK 41 VLS. A PLAN experimental ship has been testing a new VLS that has rectangular hatches similar to the MK 41, and this may be on the next-generation DDG 103 being built in Dalien.

China does not have a large dedicated SAN-6 Top Dome fire control radar near the VLS launchers. The Aegis phased array radar could provide search, and a small antenna near the VLS also could provide X-band acquisition and control links. The smaller guidance and tracking G-/H-band antennas that also have been found on Top Dome radars are located as stand-alone links fore and aft. A small radome is adjacent to fore/aft VLS launcher modules alongside the close-in weapons system, and this is usually covered by canvas in photographs. Several radomes are located fore and aft for satellite communications or non-VLS links or search functions. A very large radome atop the bridge mast may be a Type-364 multipurpose air search, surface search and targeting radar.

The usual PLAN antisubmarine warfare suite would be Italian triple antisubmarine warfare torpedo tubes and 12-barrel Type-75 mortars. Their locations on these new ships are not obvious from initial photographs. Almost certainly a French DUBV-23 bow-mounted sonar dome is under the raked bow. The fully automatic 100-millimeter gun turret on the bow is evolved from the French Creusot-Loire.

A pair of new 30-millimeter seven-barrel close-in weapons systems looks like Dutch Goalkeeper mounts, but the Netherlands claims it did not export the Goalkeeper to China. It appears that China has heavily modified the I-band Goalkeeper antenna, which also appeared on prior Project 052B DDGs. The Chinese designation for this close-in weapons system is Type-730.

The DDG 170 has 36 forward vertical launch system hatches along with a 100-millimeter copy of the fully automatic French Creusot-Loire gun mount. A Luda upgrade first installed rectangular YJ-81 SSMs in 1999, and this has continued through the YJ-81s on new DDGs. The large Russian Bandstand radome supports SSMs with a 250-kilometer-range I-band active radar and a 450-kilometer-range multiband passive radar. China’s DDG 107 has six new round-tube-shaped SSM launchers of slightly larger diameter than earlier C-803 SSMs. This indicates a more modern, longer range version of the C-805 (YJ-85) or a newer Russian supersonic SSM.

Taking full advantage of Aegis requires effective datalinks. The concept for the Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS) was outlined in a NATO study in 1955. Three NATO ships were the testbeds for prototype NTDS in 1961, and they operated together for years of development trials. Link 11, also called TADIL-A, was a high frequency (HF) and ultrahigh frequency (UHF) digital encrypted data bus. Later, wideband Link 16 UHF with 10 times the speed was added with antijam frequency hopping included.

Soviet NTDS concepts, such as integrated communication links, first appeared on Kara and Kresta II. The Bell Crown system, which was replaced by the newer Bell Thumb in 1993, was the original Soviet Link 11. The Light Bulb antenna serves the Link-16 Joint Tactical Information Display System (JTIDS) role, which would be replaced by newer AT-2M for Link-16 traffic. Russia has the expected surface-ship-to-aircraft and missile guidance datalinks. Light Bulb and Bandstand were datalinks to the SS-N-22 SSM on PLAN Sovremenny-class ships purchased from Russia.

The first Chinese tactical communication links with characteristics similar to NTDS were observed on the 4,200-ton Luhu-class DDGs in 1991. Initial TAVITAC CDS installations took place on the DDG 105 in 1987, and other Luda models in 1987 could have tried the concept. The PLAN link frequencies of 225 megahertz HF and 400 megahertz UHF are the same frequencies NTDS uses and may be part of the Chinese tactical datalink system designated HN-900.

Western vendors have provided Chinese aircraft with the MIL-STD 1553B data bus, which now has been installed on new 052 DDGs. China has used a Type-W datalink provided by France to non-NATO export customers that is similar to TADIL-A. Sovremenny and Ka-25 helicopters are equipped with the A-346Z secure datalink in addition to HF, very high frequency (VHF) and UHF radios. The newest frigates and DDGs 168, 169 and 170 have the HN-900. The HN-900 probably includes some of these foreign datalink technologies. The Russian Light Bulb datalink is positioned above the DDG 170 helicopter hanger, and Bandstand provides coordinated operations between the Russian navy using Chinese datalinks.

A Soviet 1950-vintage A-band Knife Rest early warning yagi radar antenna is aft. This antenna was not on 052B or the Luhu, but it was on the Luhai and 1990-vintage Luda upgrades and Jiangwei frigates. This seems to hint a weakness in the Aegis, which normally should perform such detection.

The Chinese Aegis DDGs have their own Ka-25 helicopters that can have distant reconnaissance or targeting capabilities and possibly can even carry missiles, although the Aegis concept is to pass target data to the control ship that would launch its weapons. Long-range shore-based fighter aircraft such as the Su-30MKK with its M400 over-the-horizon multispectral reconnaissance pod can pass target data back or can even be vectored to attack with its own long-range 3M80 Moskit missiles by the control ship. The early Su-27SK had an analog voice-encoding link, but the newer Su-30MKK has a TKS-22 datalink. China is negotiating with Russia to equip future Su-30 MK2 aircraft to include the next-generation TSIMSS-1 digital datalink. The DDG 107 would need the appropriate Sukhoi-variant link.

Long-range maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) variants of Tu-154- or Y8-converted An-12 are excellent reconnaissance assets with direct links to the Aegis control ship. Soviet naval MPA used R-837 and R-807 for long-range communications, and the R-802 was the UHF command radio—all of which are on PLAN ships. China has limited ocean reconnaissance satellite capability, but it is known to intercept and utilize data from other nations’ satellites, including those of the United States. Other non-Aegis warships can be good over-the-horizon data sources as long as they have the appropriate datalinks. They could even be shooters if targets are within their missile range. Naturally, the Sovremminy, the Luhu and the Luhai are the best consorts, but other frigates or Luda destroyers also could be used if necessary.

A key element required for an integrated Aegis capability is a shipboard local area network (LAN) and common display consoles shared by a sensors and computer/control station. The U.S. Navy has had several generations of workstations on its Aegis ships.

Soviet ships had primary Second Admiral force command consoles and subordinate Second Captain own-ship warfare area consoles. These were used on large Soviet cruisers such as the Slava and the Kirov prior to the appearance of Sky Watch.

Chinese combat system architecture is less visible, and open literature sources do not directly describe it. A photograph in a working space on the Luhu showed several identical consoles being manned by technicians, and this was not seen on earlier stovepipe sensor and weapon equipment. The consoles do not look like any units seen on Soviet or French products, and they may have been designed and produced by Chinese electronic plants. Possible vendors are the Jiangsu Automation Research Institute, which is known to make rugged naval computers and displays, and Huanwei Technology, which makes Ethernet switches, routers and fiber optic datalinks.

As on the U.S. Aegis ships, such systems can retain many of the original hardware cabinets, but the unique display console might be replaced with a standard shared console including open architecture LAN access. China’s choice of a LAN could be a Russian GOST standard or a Digibus LAN used on French TAVITAC CDS aboard recent PLAN ships. Ethernet or MIL-STD 1553 already are used in avionic and army systems and easily adapt to naval equipment, which supports interoperability of forces. Display console software operating systems likely would be commercial standard versions such as Windows or VX Works that are in production in China.

James C. Bussert is employed at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, Virginia, where he works on surface-ship antisubmarine fire control systems.

TOPICS: Editorial; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: aegis; armsbuildup; china; chinese; chinesemilitary; chinesenavy; miltech; navy; phasedarray
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-8081-93 next last
Interesting article. Even more interesting when meshed with the other things that China is doing ...for example initiating a rather ambitious submarine crew training regimen, or for that matter certain training exercises whereby they had MLRS missile systems on Cargo ships and would practice firing them en masse (I have some pics of that, although the question is why would anyone need to train on the use of MLRS systems on cargo ships ....unless ofcourse it was to practice a stratagem whereby cargo ships could be used as one-use first-strike platforms against harbor targets). Anyways, enjoy.
1 posted on 07/08/2005 10:27:28 AM PDT by spetznaz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: phoenix_004; Spktyr; Jeff Head; Southack


2 posted on 07/08/2005 10:28:06 AM PDT by spetznaz (Nuclear tipped ICBMs: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz

And Clinton's cash is being wired to him in Hong Dollars today

3 posted on 07/08/2005 10:28:26 AM PDT by Semper Paratus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz

Thanks Bill!! My what a great President..

4 posted on 07/08/2005 10:28:40 AM PDT by Josh in PA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz
I will ping you to a thread I posted about a new site that documents all of the Chinese naval buildup, including this, and then compares what they are producing to their US Navy counterparts. The shear volume of production going on right now in their naval shipyards is phenominal.

Here is the thread:

Rising Sea Dragon in Asia Web Site Launched

...and here is the site:

5 posted on 07/08/2005 10:32:05 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz
So, I'm reading about this new "Chinese" destroyer, and I keep seeing "Italian", "French", and "Russian".

Does anybody ask, when their taking the P.O.s from the Chinese whether--I dunno, maybe--this might not be the best thing to do for their national interest?

6 posted on 07/08/2005 10:32:12 AM PDT by kezekiel
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head


7 posted on 07/08/2005 10:32:57 AM PDT by spetznaz (Nuclear tipped ICBMs: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz

This is so worrisome.

8 posted on 07/08/2005 10:34:16 AM PDT by doug from upland (The Hillary documentary is coming)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz
They are certainly doing their best to create a "blue water" navy, including stealing technology, purchasing systems, and a pretty hefty financial investment. While some of these vessels are impressive, it takes a generation to develop an ocean going force and to be able to use operational level tactics. Also, I still think that they have no answer to our Virginia and Seawolf class subs.

I still think that their best chance of success is a quick strike at Taiwan that coincides with a lot of threats to cause casualties to American and Japanese forces. Unless properly framed, the Democrats, mainstream media, and most people have no stomach for fighting China. They could win by forfeit on our part.

9 posted on 07/08/2005 10:34:39 AM PDT by aegiscg47
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz

Another pic of the Chinese ship.

10 posted on 07/08/2005 10:35:57 AM PDT by spetznaz (Nuclear tipped ICBMs: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz

Reviewer: Dr. Frank Stech (Glenndale, MD USA) - See all my reviews

From 1940 to 1943 nine German surface raiders effectively used deception against both merchantmen and warships. These disguised auxiliary cruisers sank or captured 140 ships (including the cruiser HMAS Sydney), totaling over one million tons, and greatly disrupted British and American shipping in the South Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans The Kriegsmarine's surface commerce raiders of WW II were elaborations of the raiders of the Great War (such as Emden).... Far more effective were the deceptive commerce raiders, converted from fast banana boats of 3,000 to 9,000 tons, masquerading as merchant or passenger ships, and luring other surface vessels into gun or torpedo range for capture or sinking. While the Royal Navy kept the German battlewagons bottled up, the commerce raiders consistently slipped the British blockade. Once loose, they proved deadlier than U-boats.

11 posted on 07/08/2005 10:39:58 AM PDT by swarthyguy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz

Beat ya to this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 posted on 07/08/2005 10:40:26 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: swarthyguy

I guess it's true then that the more things change the more they stay the same.

13 posted on 07/08/2005 10:41:07 AM PDT by spetznaz (Nuclear tipped ICBMs: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz

Are they going to name any of their new aegis type ships the "PLAN Clinton"? I mean they should honor the traitor who ensured that they jumped 10 years ahead in their technology.

14 posted on 07/08/2005 10:41:27 AM PDT by JSteff
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz


15 posted on 07/08/2005 10:42:17 AM PDT by Paul Ross (George Patton: "I hate to have to fight for the same ground twice.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz lets sell our American refineries to the Chi Coms
we all ready gave them OUR canal...and allowed them to build
the largest container port and cargo airport in the world
in our back yard...

16 posted on 07/08/2005 10:43:05 AM PDT by joesnuffy (Does the Red Crescent have falafel dollies?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz

Two words: Carrier escorts.

17 posted on 07/08/2005 10:46:21 AM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: aegiscg47
I still think that they have no answer to our Virginia and Seawolf class subs.

That is where the economic warfare they are practicing comes in. All they need do is implode our economy by withdrawing all the Treasuries invested monies they skimmed off the top of the outsourcing. Currently at $660 billion. The U.S. will then be forced to collapse its military weapons procurement spending even more than GWB has been doing. The Seawolf was already terminated at three ships by Cheney in '02, and the Virginia class could follow it next.

18 posted on 07/08/2005 10:46:36 AM PDT by Paul Ross (George Patton: "I hate to have to fight for the same ground twice.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: joesnuffy

Natch! They'll need awl for those ships...

19 posted on 07/08/2005 10:47:59 AM PDT by null and void (You'll learn more on FR by accident, than other places by design)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: spetznaz

Friday, July 8, 2005

Union workers decry BIW hiring proposal
By MARK PETERS, Portland Press Herald Writer
Copyright © 2005 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

BATH — Bath Iron Works' plan to replace 24 union workers with a private contractor drew hundreds of shipyard employees, labor leaders and Gov. John Baldacci to a rally Thursday in the shadow of the ship builder's cranes. The rally came as the company and its largest labor union agreed to open discussions on the outsourcing plan.

A bulletin from BIW President Dugan Shipway that circulated companywide this week said he will put off for three months plans to lay off the maintenance and janitorial workers and have a private contractor do their work.

Instead, BIW officials and union leaders will spend the coming weeks discussing how to find an estimated $700,000 in cost savings without having to use outside workers.

"Dugan (Shipway), choose. Are we going to build ships, or are we going to fight?" said Mike Keenan, president of 3,850-member local S6 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The rally and the attention of both labor and elected leaders show the issue is about more than 24 jobs. It involves the potential for more outsourcing at the shipyard, the overall future of one of the state's largest employers and ongoing relations between labor and management at BIW.

Union leaders fear that if BIW management can contract with Massachusetts-based UNICCO for maintenance work, then the shipyard could go further and hire other companies to do welding or painting. Speakers at the rally described this kind of outsourcing as a major threat to well-paying union jobs.

"Everyone realizes we are the stepping stone," said Rodney Wright, a maintenance worker at BIW who would be laid off if the company goes with a private contractor.

Wright has a son on his way to college and a daughter in high school. The prospect of being out of work after 24 years at BIW is daunting. The question his family asks most days when he gets home is whether there was any news at work.

But as union officials look to preserve jobs that pay an average of $19.07 an hour plus benefits, BIW management is scouring its operations in search of greater efficiency.

The Navy is considering major changes that could put BIW in an all-or-nothing competition with Mississippi-based Ingalls Shipyard to build the next generation of ships. If approved, efficiency could be a critical factor in the awarding of bids.

Workers say they want the shipyard to be competitive, but eliminating the maintenance and janitorial jobs will not result in greater efficiency. Keenan said the union will present Shipway with a list of $700,000 in proposed savings as alternatives to outsourcing.

After the rally, Baldacci said that he attended it to make sure both sides continue to work toward an agreement. The governor told the crowd that BIW's decision to wait three months is a first step.

"It is important that we don't allow . . . circumstances to continue to unravel," Baldacci said. "It is my responsibility to keep the parties talking together and working together. They're going to be resolving it amongst themselves."

The union has blamed the dispute on Shipway, who took over leadership of the shipyard two years ago. He was singled out on signs reading "Who's Next - Dugan??," and in speeches and calls from the crowd of workers.

House Speaker John Richardson, a Brunswick Democrat, said BIW leaders should not allow a relatively small amount of jobs and money to break down several years of good relationships between labor and management.

The issue in the coming days is expected to shift from the street in front of BIW to a negotiating table. BIW officials declined to comment Thursday on negotiations over the outsourcing issue, but Keenan said he was optimistic the matter could be dealt with in a week.

The union plans to assert that outsourcing is off the table and that the company needs to look elsewhere to find savings, Keenan said. If not, workers plan to picket the shipyard later this month when a destroyer is christened.

Staff Writer Mark Peters can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

20 posted on 07/08/2005 10:49:57 AM PDT by cp124 (They will buy what we don't make. - Globalist Manifesto)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-8081-93 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson