Type 053K, NATO reporting name: Jiangdong Class, is a type of anti-air missile frigates designed to provide air defense cover for the fleet. Length 103m, width 19.8m, full load displacement 1924 tonnes. Main armament including 2x Type 79 dual 100mm naval guns, 4x Type 76 dual 37mm AA guns, 2x 2-rail HQ-61B SAM launcher, 2x Type 65 anti-submarine rocket launchers, and 2x Type 64 depth charge mortars.
In about 1965, PLAN presented a plan to build 3 different types of frigates for different roles in 1 basic hull design. Type 053K was the air anti-air type and the first finished one in this plan, other two were Type 053H for anti-ship role and never-build Type 053Q for anti-submarine role.
The first ship of Type 053K is 531 Yingtan, launched in 1971, entered in service in 1975. But due to China's poor technical level in that time, it took other 10 years to make all of its subsystems fully functional, and for this reason, the project was cancelled after the second ship was built.
The second ship 532 was finished in 1976, but onboard equipment broke during its waiting of subsystems, the military had no choice but retired and scrapped it in 1986. It had never been officially named, but the most probable name could be "中东" (Zhongdong, the name of a town in Guangxi, not confuse with the word "Middle East" in Chinese)
Type 053H, NATO reporting name: Jianghu Ⅰ Class, is a type of anti-ship missile frigates designed to replace outdated Type 65 and Type 6601 (though itself was already outdated too when finished). Length 103.2m, width 10.8m, full load displacement 1702 tonnes. Armament including: 2x Type 61 100mm main guns, 6x Type 61 dual 37mm AA guns, 2x 2-cell SY-1 (the Chinese copy of Soviet P-15 Termit) anti-ship missile launchers, Type 65 anti-submarine rocket launchers and Type 64 depth charge mortars in different number for different ships.
According to differences in appearance, it could be divided into three blocks:
Block 1 (516, 515, 517): square bridge, curved funnel, 4x anti-submarine rocket launchers;
Block 2 (511, 513, 512, 514): polygonal bridge, square funnel, 2x anti-submarine rocket launchers, redesigned rear deckhouse;
Block 3 (518, 510, 509, 519, 520, 511, 522): polygonal bridge, polygonal funnel;
Ships in service till 2010 are equipped with modernized communication and navigation systems (See the drawing of 513 Huaian)
516 Jiujiang is a unique one, she received 2 major modifications in her service history.
The first one was in 1985, main guns were replaced by Type 79 dual 100mm, added Type 343 fire control radar (WASP HEAD) and Type Type 517 air search radar (KNIFE REST), upper part of the bridge was extended, all this made she looks like a Type 053H1.
The second one was in 2002, she was converted into a fire support ship, missile launchers and rear deckhouse were removed, main guns were replaced by H/PJ33B dual 100mm with stealth turrets, added 5 H/JJ12 122mm 50 tubes MRLS
Type 053H1, NATO reporting name: Jianghu Ⅱ Class, is a improved variant of Type 053H to fit PLAN South Sea Fleet's demands, the first ship 553 Ningbo (renamed as Taizhou in 2003) launched in 1980. It's basic layout is similar to Type 053H, with Block 2 style polygonal bridge (but is a little different) and curved funnel, added bulbous bow and fin stabilizers. Armament including: 2x Type 76 dual 100mm main guns, 4x Type 76 dual 37mm AA guns, 2x 2-cell SY-1 anti-ship missile launchers, 4x Type 64 depth charge mortars, 2x Type 65 anti-submarine rocket launchers (replaced by Type 87 on some ships)
Early stage, Type 76 and Type 79 guns still have to be operated manually due to lacking corresponding fire control radars
All ships, except 556 Xiangtan which was sold to Bangladesh in 1989, received modifications in late 1980s to early 1990s. Added Type 343 (WASP HEAD), Type 341 (RICE LAMP) fire control radars, Type 517 (KNIFE REST) air search radar, improved missile launcher capable launching SY-1A missile, and some other equipment
555 Zhaotong's Type 76 AA guns were replaced by Type 715Ⅱ air defense gun-missile systems in 1988. The system was a modified Type 76 AA gun with 2 launch rails of PL-8H or PL-9 missiles, project was cancelled due to poor performance.
After 2000, 533 and 534 received the second modification. Main guns were replaced by stealth H/PJ33B, added modernized communication and navigation systems
533, 534, 553, 555 received another modification in 2012. Type 76 AA guns in front of the bridge were removed, Type 517 radar was replaced by a satellite antenna, Type 341 and Type 352 radars were replaced by something might be EO turrets, added 4 shielded mounts of QJZ89 HMG and new cranes to operate RHIBs. Although the missile launchers were still remaining, but it's highly possible that those ships have already lost the ability to launch missiles, as the Type 352 fire control radar was removed. Those ships were mainly used for patrol missions in peace time
Type 053H1Q, NATO reporting name: Jianghu Ⅳ Class, is a type of ASW frigates based on Type 053H1. 544 Siping (renamed as Lushun in 2010) is the only ship in this class. It was launched at 9/26/1985, entered service with PLAN North Sea Fleet at 12/24/1985, was the most powerful ASW ship of PLAN in that time. The main purpose of building it was testing western equipment, especially helicopter supporting equipment. Compare to 053H1, its entire rear part was replaced by a helipad and a hanger that can hold one AS 565 or Z-9 helicopter. Main armament including: 1x French 100mm Compact naval gun, 4x Type 76 dual 37mm AA guns, 1x 2-cell SY-1 anti-ship missile launcher, 2x Italian B.515S 324mm torpedo launchers, 2x Type 65 anti-submarine rocket launchers