INS Vishakhapatnam v/s Chinese Type-052D, Which one is Lethal?

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INS VISHAKAPATNAM under construction at Mazagon Docks, WikimediaCommons

China – India combo has been the centre of defense talk for quite some time. Both nations are in a race to outperform the other, not out of national pride but out of pure necessity. Even though relation between two countries has seen a fair share of both ups and downs, the down side has overshadowed the other.

Both nations’ navies are now part of the race to survive against each other’s potential ‘threats’. So here we compare ships that are the latest addition to the respective forces.


TYPE-052D

First in Class CNS KunMing, wikimediaCommons

TECHNICAL SPECS

TYPE:  GUIDED MISSILE DESTROYER

DISPLACEMENT:  7500tonnes (Full Load)

LENGTH:  157m/515ft

BEAM:  17m/56ft

DRAFT:  6m/20ft

PROPULSION:  CODOG 2 × QC-280 gas turbine engines 25 27, 6 MW, 2 × MTU 20V 956TB92 diesel engines, 6 MW

SPEED:  >57kmph/ 31knots

RANGE: 7200km+ at cruise speed

SENSORS & PROCESSING SYSTEMS

RADAR SYSTEMS:

  • H/LJG-346A multi-function active phased array radar
  • Anti stealth H/LJQ-517B radar with Yagi antenna
  • H/LJQ-364 low altitude and surface search radar
  • H/LJQ-366 other-the-horizon surface search & targeting radar
  • H/LJP-349 fire control radar for close-in weapon systems
  • H/LJP-344A phased array fire control radar for main gun

SONARS:

  • H/SJD-9 hull mounted active/passive sonar
  • H/SJG-206 towed array sonar
  • ESS-1 variable depth sonar

WEAPON SYSTEMS

A picture clicked by a ship spotter reveals the 64cell VLS aboard the Type-052D, credits to owners
  • 1× H/PJ-45A 130mm dual purpose gun
  • 1x 24cell FL3000N CIWS
  • 64 VLS (Vertical Launching System)
  1. CY-5 series ASW missiles
  2. CJ-10 LACM (Land Attack Cruise Missile)
  3. YJ-18 or YJ-83 anti-ship missiles
  4. HHQ-9 series long range SAM
  5. HQ-16 medium range SAM
  6. DK-10A (possibly quad-packed) medium range SAM
  7. 1× H/PJ-12 CIWS or H/PJ-11 CIWS
  8. 1× HHQ-10 short range SAM in 24-cell launcher
  9. 2x Triple tube Type 7424B torpedo launcher (for Yu-7 torpedo)
  10. 4× 18-tube decoy rocket launcher

AVIATION FACILITIES:  Stern Hanger with 1x ASW Helicopter

 


SALIENT FEATURES:

Tyep 348 ‘Dragon eye’ aboard a Type-052D ship, credits to owners
  • The ship’s main attraction is the S-band Type 346 ‘Dragon Eye’ AESA radar system and L-band Type 518. A russian insider claimed that the ‘Dragon eye’ is potent enough to detect the US made F-35 stealth fighter. However, the system is very new and is not proven battle worthy yet. Due to the veil of secrecy that covers Chinese military not much is known and not much should be believed.
  • Some military sites draws parallel between US Arleigh-Burke class destroyer and Type-052D, however it is still a far fetched idea, since no inputs are available to prove that the Chinese is more worthy.
  • A very new Data-Link is inducted into the ships designated as JSIDLS (Joint Service Integrated Data Link System). It provides real time tactical picture for aircrafts, naval vessels and troops deployed from them.

INS VISAKHAPATNAM

INS VISHAKAPATNAM under construction at Mazagon Docks, WikimediaCommons

TECHNICAL SPECS

TYPE: STEALTH GUIDED MISSILE DESTROYER

DISPLACEMENT: 7300tonnes

LENGTH:  163m/535ft

BEAM:  17.4m/57ft

DRAFT:  6.5m/21ft

PROPULSION: COGAG: Twin Zorya M36E gas turbine plants with 4 × DT-59 reversible gas turbines and 2 × RG-54 gearboxes

2 × Bergen/GRSE KVM-diesel engines, 9,900 hp (7,400 kW) each

4 × 1 MWe Wärtsilä WCM-1000 generator sets driving Cummins KTA50G3 engines and Kirloskar 1 MV AC generators

SPEED: >56kmph / 30knots

RANGE: 7,400 km at cruise speed of 26kmph


SENSORS & PROCESSING SYSTEMS

RADAR SYSTEMS:

  • IAI EL/M-2248 MF-STAR S-band AESA
  • Thales LW-08 D-band air search radar
INS Kolkata with the MF-STAR system

SONAR:

  • BEL HUMSA-NG bow SONAR

WEAPON SYSTEMS

  • 1x 127mm Otobreda127/64
  • 4x AK-630 CIWS
  • 2x 16cell VLS for BARAK-8 SAM
  • 2x 8cell UVLM for Brahmos Anti-Ship/Land Attack missile
  • 4× 533 mm Torpedo tubes (possibly for Varunastra)
  • 2× RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launchers
  • KAVACH chaff deployment system
INS Kolkata firing BARAK-8 LRSAM, Indian Navy

AVIATION FACILITIES: 2x Enclosed Hanger for ASW Helicopters


SALIENT FEATURES:

An infographic of systems in P-15B ships, Indian Navy/Dept. of Naval Design
  • Total Atmosphere Control System: This system will enable the crew to operate the ship in regions of nuclear, chemical or biological fall out. The machinery compartment  however is not included to prevent technical difficulties.
  • A rail-less helicopter traversing system to secure the helicopter. this enables the ship to quickly launch helicopters in combat situations.
  • A network-centric layout with a Ship Data Network (SDN), an Automatic Power Management System (APMS), a Combat Management System (CMS), and Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS).
  • Vishakapatnam’s possible upgrades include Hypersonic Brahmos-II and the under development Land Attck Subsonic Cruise Missile Nirbhay.
An official brochure released by the Indian Navy detailing the parameters of the Vishakapatnam class destroyers

THE FACE-OFF

Let us now come down to the final question. Who is better? for that the following points must be taken into account.

  1. STEALTH: INS Vishakapatnam certainly sports a better stealth chara than its Chinese counter parts. from the info available, other than minor angular changes in hull, credible evidences are absent in favour of Type-052D. Vishakapatnam on the other hand is built with stealth characteristics incorporated from the design stage itself. Since it is a succeed-er to the famous Kolkata class destroyer, it would be foolish to undermine it’s stealth characteristics.
  2. SENSORS: It gets interesting here. The Chinese sports a huge number of sensors and processing systems while the Indian one has just 2 major radar systems. The IAI made MF-STAR as its name suggests provides Multi-Function Surveillance, Tracking and Guidance.

    There is no doubt that the Israeli systems are one of the best in service anywhere in the world. It can track air, surface targets and also acts as a fire control radar. Thus it serves the purpose of a huge number of sensors, which the Chinese lack in. They just have a huge number because their sensors are very specific capable of doing only fulfilling one role. The MF-STAR also acts as a fire control and guidance radar for the advanced Indo-Israeli SAM BARAK-8. For air search Thales LW-08 D-band air search radar fills the role.

  3. ARMAMENTS: The Chinese definitely packs a huge number of 64 VLS compared to 48 for the Indian counterpart. The major reason again is lack of multi-role armaments for the Chinese. They have quite a number of SAMs for different ranges, in the above 64. HHQ-9 LRSAM,HQ-16  MRSAM, DK-10A MRSAM and HHQ-10 SRSAM. Indians clearly has the upper hand here as they just need one system to fit in the roles of all systems listed above-the BARAK-8 and its ER variant under development. It can even double up as a point defense system if it comes down to it.
  4. ASW and CIWS: Type052D has 6x torpedo tubes for its lightweight 324mm Yu-7, which is actually a reverse-engineered US Mark-46 torpedoes found by Chinese fishermen in South China Sea during the late 70s. Indians on the other hand uses an indigenously made heavyweight 533mm ‘Varunasthra’ torpedoes.

    The Vishakapatnam can house 2x ASW helos in twin enclosed hangers while the Chinese has to get away with one. Sonar wise the Chinese definitely has the upper hand with their equipments collectively tracking more than what HUMSA-NG can do (8 targets at a time). Coming to CIWS , Vishakapatnam employs 4x AK-630 CIWS, while the Chinese employs H/PJ-11 their version of AK-630 but with minor upgrades such as stealth turret and local opto-electronics for tracking.

  5. BRAHMOS factor: it would be pretty safe to say that nothing in Chinese arsenal can come close to Brahmos. So if the Type-052D is caught in a salvo fire of Brahmos from Vishakapatnam, it’s the end of the PLAAN ship. Their only supersonic AShM in 052D is the YJ-83 which is similar to the russian Klub missile could pose some serious threat to the Indian ship, but adding in the BARAK-8, safe zone is considerably high for Vishakapatnam.
Brahmos Missile launched from INS Kolkata during TROPEX-2015, PTI Photo

It’s kind of hard to answer the question which is better, due to heavy cloud of secrecy regarding Chinese projects and the under construction Vishakapatnam is bound for radical hardware changes. However given the above points Vishakapatnam has a slight upper hand mainly due to the reason that it has the best AShm (Brahmos) and one of the best SAM missiles aboard the same vessel.

It was even cited as one of the best balanced Destroyer out there by some defense analysts. Chinese’ over dependency on reversed engineered products is a turn down for them. Since it is not a decisive win, in real combat situation it all comes down to the optimal usage of the facilities each ship hosts, to survive and sail another day.