Indian Kolkata class vs Chinese Type-52D destroyer

The Kolkata class is a class of stealth guided-missile destroyers constructed for the Navy. Indian The class comprises three ships – Kolkata, Kochi, and Chennai, all of which are built by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in India, and are the largest destroyers to be operated by the Indian Navy.

The Type 052D destroyer is a class of guided-missile destroyers being deployed by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy. Currently, it is being built at two different Chinese shipyards. India and China are embroiled in a bitter border dispute. Recent Chinese belligerent behavior has been a source of considerable concern for its neighbors including India. Kolkata Type-52D classes are the newest most powerful destroyers of their respective nations. These two ships will be the primary escorts of the Indian Navy and Chinese Navy Aircraft Carriers for years to come. They are game-changers for their respective nations. In any conflict, these ships will play a major part in deciding the battle at the seas.

In this article, Kolkata & TYPE-52D class will be compared based on 5 important parameters and an unbiased conclusion will be drawn. Let's get started. The Kolkata follows the Soviet tradition of having a variety of weapons at the bow on various raised platforms. It has a 163 m long hull, which is retained from its predecessor, Delhi class. It displaces around 7500 tons when fully loaded. The massive size of the ship allows the installation of a wide range of sensors and weapons. India has chosen to leave a lot of deck space for future additions and upgrades. TYPE-52D uses essentially the same hull as its predecessor, the Type-52C. Its hull is slightly smaller at 154 m, but it displaces around 7500 tons when fully loaded suggesting that it is packed to the brim with sensors and weapons and there is hardly any space left for additions of new systems. Since the destroyers are build to have long service lives, upgrades are imminent. Kolkata class will have more room to incorporate these upgrades, making it a slightly better-designed vessel.

This is the first Indian warship to use ActiveElectronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, which has 4 static panels instead of a single rotating panel. The Israeli MF-STAR has been chosen for this role. It is mounted very high up on a specially built mast. The radar is said to be capable of guiding24 missiles at once to hit 12 targets. This gives the ship an ability to defend itself against saturation air attacks depending on the number of available missiles. The MF-STARis capable of detecting large aerial targets at distances 300 km and sea-skimming cruise missiles at ranges & 25 km. The actual values are much higher and are classified. The primary radar, the Type-348, is similar in arrangement to the SPY-1 radars of the American AEGIS system. It is a dual-band AESA, which has 4 square panels, mounted on 4 sides of the superstructure. This radar is said to have a range of 250 km against large areal targets. Its performance against sea-skimming missile is not correctly known but is thought to be around 10 km. Though Chinese radar is a very strong performer,

MF STARS build by Israel is widely considered the best radar system along with America Aegiessystem. Hence, Kolkata has a slight advantage in this aspect. The primary Long-Range SAM onboard the Kolkata is the Barak-8, which has been jointly developed by India and Israel. This 90 km range missile is designed from the start to intercept supersonic cruise missiles, which travel a few meters above the water, which makes it perfect for missile defense. The total load is 32 missiles, though there is easily enough space to mount 64 cells of Barak-8 missiles in the future.

The Barak-8is very unique, because it has a minimum range of just 0.5 km when similar missiles have a minimum range of 3-4 km. This enables it to intercept missiles very close to the ship and it performs the role of a point-defense SAM as well. 24 Barak-8 can be guided at once to intercept 12 targets simultaneously. Kolkata has no dedicated secondary layer SAMsystem. The role of CIWS (Close-in weapon system)is left to the 4 AK-630 6 barrel, 30 mm Gatling guns which are a last-ditch defense against missiles. It has an effective range of 4 km. The 76 mm main gun also has the excellent anti-air capability and can complement the CIWS with its effective range of 8 km against aerial threats. All these guns are open-loop meaning they depend on the sensors and radars mounted on the ship. The advantage is that these sensors can detect targets at long ranges as they are mounted high up and increase the effective range of these guns. The downside is that if the primary sensors & radars get hit, these become useless.

The Type-52D can carry 64 Surface to Air missiles theoretically on a pure anti-air mission. But practically, its loadout will be 32-48cells. The primary one is the HQ-9B which has long-range area defense capability. It has a slant range of 200 km, which gives it a unique advantage over Kolkata. It can shoot down a missile launch platform like fighter aircraft at 200 km before the fighter can fire its Anti Ship Missile at it. The secondary air defense is provided by the HQ-16 SAM, which has a range of 50 km. The ability of the HQ-9B & HQ-16 to engage sea-skimming missiles at short ranges is seriously doubted. Hence, to complement these, the Chinese have installed a short-range missile system FL-3000N with a load of 18 missiles, to deal with sea-skimming missiles at ranges of 10 km. The last-ditch anti-missile capability is provided by a Type 730 Close-in Weapons system.

This has a 6-barreled 30 mm Gatling gun that can effectively engage sea-skimming missiles at a range of 2 km. It is a closed-loop CIWSand unlike the Ak-630 of Kolkata, it has its own radar and electro-optical sensors which reduce its dependency on shipborne sensors and allow it to operate independently. The Type-52D has a longer-ranged primary missile,4 layered defense system. Kolkata, on the other hand, has a 2 layered defense system and all the burden is on the 32 Barak-8 to perform area defense, missile defense and point defense duties. But its current load of 32 Barak-8 is highly insufficient for a destroyer of this size in a modern-day conflict and leaves it vulnerable to a saturation attack as it can run out of missiles very fast. Hence,

Type-52D has a major advantage in this area and can be considered to be one of the most well-defended destroyers in the world. The main ASW weapon will be its 2 twin 533mm torpedo tubes, which can fire long-range, heavyweight torpedoes with a range of up to40 km. The RBU-6000 rocket launching system complements it. Beyond the horizon, ASW helicopters provide ASW capability. The Kolkata has 2 large hangars, which can support any modern ASW helicopter. Type -52D’s main ASW weapon is 2 triple mountings for a total of 6 lightweight torpedo tubes. These have a range of around 15 km. It also has 4, 18 tube ASW rocket launchers, which are non-reloadable and have a range of around 1 km. Over the horizon, a single ASW helicopter provides ASW capability. Overall, the ASW reach of Type -52D’s is comparatively lower than the Kolkata class. Kolkata does have a major advantage in this aspect.

The configuration of Type -52D’s ship for surface warfare can be changed based on mission requirements due to its Universal VerticalLaunchers which can fire any type of missile. An ideal layout would consist of 16 YJ-12Anti-Ship Missiles for surface warfare. The range of the missile is said to vary from 220 km to around 350 km depending on the flight profile. The only drawback of this missile is that it travels at subsonic speeds at 40 km altitude and reaches supersonic speeds only during the final dive towards its target. This makes it easy to intercept using long and medium-range missiles during the subsonic phase. Kolkata’s main armament is a battery of16 vertically launched BrahMos supersonic long-range Anti-Ship missiles.

There is space behind the 16 VLS cells for a batch of 8 more cells but has been left empty. Depending on the mission it can be loaded with 8 more Brahmos or some other type of missile. This is by far one of the deadliest missile armaments of contemporary warships. It can hit ships at ranges of around 300 km with extreme accuracy. The missile maintains a speed of Mach 2-3 throughout its flight, which makes it extremely difficult for even modern defense systems to shoot it down. India and Russia have decided to double the range of the BrahMos missile from existing 300 km to 600 km This is expected to be a major game-changer. The decision was taken earlier between PrimeMinister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Goa on the sidelines of the BRICS summit.

Russia is a signatory of MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) and India was not. According to the MTCR guidelines, Russia could not help or jointly develop a missile with a non-MTCR nation, whose range is more than 300 km. This is why the Brahmos range had to be limited to 300 km. Now India is a member, these restrictions don’t apply. To know more, check the video on the above card. Brahmos gives Kolkata class advantage in this category, with increased range, the advantage will be even more pronounced. KOLKATA performed slightly well overall. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will win against the Type -52D’s. Victory in conflict depends largely on the training of the crew in maneuvering, damage control, and the tactics employed by the captain. Having said that, Kolkata equipped with 600km Brahmos does have an edge in one on one confrontation, it has a better chance of landing the Knock out punch.