The first-in-class frigate was launched in August 2020. Pakistan signed a first contract for the delivery two Type 054 A/P frigates in 2017. An additional contract for two more ships was announced in June 2018. The keel laying for the second vessel took place in March 2020. Steel cutting for the final two ships took place in November 2019. All four units are set to be built in China and delivered to the customer by 2021.
For the record, the same shipyard located near Shanghai recently launched two Type 075 LHDs for the Chinese Navy (PLAN) with a third one on the way. Hudong-Zhonghua is also currently building a Type 071E LPD for Thailand.
While a lot of the sensors (fire control radars, antennas) and weapon systems (main gun) are covered by yellow tarp, two radar systems can be identified on the ship spotter picture taken by @燃烧的哈尔科夫 from Weibo.
We initially believed the radar on top of the main mast was a new sensor. However following some research, and checking with our own sources, Naval News can confirm that it is actually a SR2410C radar system.
The SR2410C is a 3D multifunction ESA (electronically scanned array) radar loosely equivalent to the famous Smart-S Mk2 by Thales. It has already been fitted aboard the Bangladesh Navy C13B corvette which were built in China. According to manufacturer’s data, it has an air range of over 250 km and can track 150 surface and air targets simultaneously.
Type 517/SUR17B air surveillance radar
The Type 517 (export designation: SUR17B) is long range air search radars working in the A band (0 to 250 MHz).
The Type 517 is already fitted aboard the Zulfiquar-class frigates of the Pakistan Navy:
According to CSSC, “SUR17B radar is designed to automatically detect, record, process of targets, and send target data back to intelligence center. The radar is suitable for corvette, frigate and destroyer, etc., and could be adopted on land or island. It’s capable to perform medium and high altitude long-range surveillance”. Since it is a “metric wave radar” it is said to be capable of surveillance and acquisition of stealth target and anti-radiation missile. It has a range of 300 km.
About Type 054A and Type 054 A/P
The Type 054A is a multi-role frigate and is recognized as the backbone of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) fleet of surface combatants with 30 vessels in commission. They have a length of 134 meters, a beam of 16 meters for a displacement of 4,000 tons. They have a crew complement of 165 sailors and are fitted with:
- a H/PJ-26 76mm main gun
- 8 C803 anti-ship missiles
- 32x VLS cells for HQ-16 surface to air missiles
- 2x Type 730 30mm CIWS
- 2x Triple Torpedo launchers
In the PLAN, the those frigates feature a Type 382 radar which shares a close resemblance with the Russian MR-710 Fregat radar. Unlike the Pakistan Navy variant, the Type 054A in Chinese Navy service do not feature a long range / metric wave radar.
According to the Pakistan Navy, the Type-054 A/P ships are state of the art frigates equipped with modern surface, subsurface and anti air weapons and sensors. Once constructed, these ships will be the most technologically advanced platforms of Pakistan Navy which will strengthen its capability to meet future challenges and maintain peace, stability & power equilibrium in the Indian Ocean Region.
The Pakistan Navy is currently undertaking an important renewal of its fleet, with the procurement of several modern platforms: In addition to these frigates from China, Pakistan will also commission new corvettes from Turkey and OPV from the Netherlands. It is also modernizing its submarine force.