Type-053K class air defense frigate in port.
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The Type-053K is a class of air defense frigates of Chinese origin. This class of frigates was developed in the mid to late 1960's to provide local area air defense for other ships aimed at surface warfare. The design phase was protracted following difficulties with the HQ-61 surface to air missile system. The ships officially entered service in the 1970's, a decade after design was completed. However, the HQ-61 only became operational in the 1980's. Due to these issues only 2 ships entered service, with only one of those operational to some degree.
The design of the Type-053K is based on the Type-065 class, which in turn is a direct copy of the Soviet Riga class. The Type-053K looks very similar to other ships in the Type-053 family, of which about 10 variants can be distinguished. The twin arm launcher it what makes the Type-053K uniquely identifiable.
The main armament of the Type-053K consists of two twin launchers for the HQ-61B medium range surface to air missiles. These are semi-active radar homing and have a range of about 10 km. Two fire control radars are fitted, allowing for two targets to be engaged at a time. Two twin mounts of 100mm Type 79 56-caliber guns can be used against surface targets. These are dual purpose guns on other ship classes, although integration with the Type 381 radar was never confirmed. There are no anti-ship missiles. Four Type 76 open mounts with twin 37mm anti-aircraft guns are mounted amidships. ASW rockets and depth charges can be used against submarines.
The Type-053K was originally planned to have both gas and diesel propulsion. Design target was a maximum speed of 38 kt. Due to issues the design was altered to two diesel engines only. These power two shafts and allow for a maximum speed of about 28 kt. At economic speed the operational range is quoted as 4.000 nm.
Two ships of the Type-053K class were completed. More were planned, but not produced due to the various issues with the HQ-61B design. By 1992 both ships were retired. The Type 052H2G with a sextuple HQ-61M launcher and Type 053H3 with octuple HHQ-7 launcher are more successful designs that filled the role of air defense frigate.
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