In November 2021, Pakistan Navy commissioned PNS Tughril (Type-054AP), first ship of its class in a ceremony held in Hodong Xing shipyard Shanghai.
From visuals the PNS Tughril (261) looked clearly different from the Type-054 Alpha class of PLAN. The differences can be easily noted in electrical and armament systems of both ships.
Here we will discuss the main differences and most importantly the factors leading to these differences.
- Electrical differences
Major differences between Tughril class and Type-054A electrical system are due to differences in air situational awareness system.
- Search Radar
Tughril class uses a more advanced SR-2410C AESA radar as main search Radar compared to H/CJQ-382 air warning radar which equips the Type-054A. SR-2410C is a AESA radar with full X&Y axis electronic scanning mechanically rotation for a full 360° view and strong anti-jamming capabilities. It provides a large situational awareness, tracking many targets at a single time.
Factors for this change are because Pakistan navy won’t face similar threats as PLAN. The threat perceptive for PN will be more likely from Indian supersonic BrahMos missile rather than high flying bombers and UAV.
SR-2410C has a rectangular shape and have wider array than it is taller which means more horizontal elements suited for back-and-forth scanning. It means Type-2410C is more suitable for scanning fast moving and low flyer targets near the surface like BrahMos.
- Additional VHF radar (Type-517)
In addition, a VHF radar is installed on Tughril class which is unavailable on Type-054A but can be seen on bigger PLAN ships like Type-052C and newer Type-052DL.
The Type-517 export variant is placed on a pyramid pedestal at back of ship. The original Type-054 have this pedestal which uses it to sit Type-347 CIWS radar.
This VHF radar can detect highflyers at longer range, can also detect LO and VLO and can also queue other radars to the targets for more precise movement.
Pakistan navy is familiar with this radar as it’s operational with the F22P class frigates. Compared to Type-517 its export variant for Pakistan Navy has more elements which are closely packed together in configuration of 2×8 elements while PLAN ships have 2×6 configuration.
- Independent CIWS radar
In original Type-054 a single Type-347 radar controls fours AK-630 CIWS system while Tughril class have self-contained CIWS in each side with each having its own Type-347 radar mounted on top of turret.
- EW Suite
Tughril class have relatively a new electronic warfare suite than Type-054A. Tughril class have latest Type-726-3 ECM and Type-721-1 ESM. Type-054A have older 751 ESM which is likely to be changed to its latest variant in newly built ships and under MLU in older ones.
- Sonar system
Tughril class have Type-311 or H/SJG-311 towed array active and passive Sonar while older Type-054 had H/SJG-206 towed array sonar which were all passive however newer ones are equipped with Type-311.
- Differences in weapon systems
In surface warfare capabilities the Tughril class is equipped with more lethal and long-range Anti-ship missile (AShM) compared to Type-054A.
Tughril class is equipped with two sets of dual CM-302 launchers which is export variant of YJ-12 supersonic AShM. Type-054A however have two sets of quadruple YJ-83A a subsonic AShM. CM-302 compared to YJ-83A have long strike distance, high flight speed, several time bigger warhead charge and a strong penetration capability can severely damage bigger ships like destroyers and cruisers thus giving an upper hand to Tughril class in surface warfare anti-ship capabilities.