Home' Defence Review Asia : DRA Sept-Oct 2014 Contents CHINA
THE TYPE 056 CORVETTE
-- THE PLA(N) JIANGHU REPLACEMENT Mark Farrer // CANBERRA
e Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) commissioned the rst Type 056 Jiangdao-class corvette (PN 582
Bengbu) built in Shanghai in February 2013. A little more than 18 months later at least 15 are now in commission, ve
tting out and more are under construction. e rst ight of these vessels -- probably 20-24 hulls -- are the functional
replacement for the remaining Type 052 Jiangu II, III and V class light frigates and represent the upgrade of the entire
PLAN medium-sized warship force.
They do have some basic radar cross section reduction features but a glance
at the detail fitting shows that they are not a 'stealth' design.
The Jianghu class is already being cascaded
into secondary functions such as
Coastguard service, or are being scrapped.
A second flight of another 24 Type 056
corvettes is believed to be under consideration, but
total figures of up to 60 are rumored. They are being
assigned to flotillas of four ships. Four of the class
have been identified with Variable Depth Sonar (VDS)
hatches aft, indicating some sub-specialisation within
the first flight.
Built under the current and ongoing military
modernisation program, the Type 056 class is
thought to have used the successful Chinese-built
Royal Thai Navy Pattani class as a design basis. That
class has a hangar suitable for a Agusta Westland
Super Lynx Mk300 helicopter and falls into the area
between a high-end OPV and a small frigate: they
are often called corvettes although a more accurate
term is the disused classification of 'sloop'. The RTN
has used Pattani herself for anti-piracy work off Aden
between 10 September 2010 and 20 January 2011,
so they are hardly a coastal type. The PLA(N) has
optimised the Type 056 as a small multi-role warship:
more heavily armed they are fitted to operate a
medium sized helicopter
but have no hangar. Like
the Jianghu types, the
Type 056 corvette
class are to be used for
warfare, general littoral
surface warfare and
escort duties, and the
full suite of offshore
patrol vessel maritime
constabulary tasks. They
will soon be a common
sight in the South and
East China Seas and are
commissioning at the rate
of 8-10 per annum.
The class has a full load displacement capacity
of 1365t. Speed is quite adequate for the mission
profiles at 28 knots, using a twin-screw CODAD
plant with a pair of 5148kW Pielstick PA-6-STC
diesel engines. Total range
is not known but 2,000nm
is claimed 'at high speed'.
Range at economical cruising
speed (probably 14-15 knots
on one diesel) should be at
least double this.
Despite much talk of
'stealth' features, these ships
are not built as 'stealthy'
platforms. They do have
some basic radar cross
section reduction features
but a glance at the detail
fitting shows that they are
not a 'stealth' design. There are numerous radar-
reflecting configurations visible on the upper decks.
The standard ship has the sort of armament to be
expected on a corvette or light frigate. They have a
H/P J-26 76mm gun (similar to the Russian AK-
176), two H/P J-15 30mm point defence guns,
four YJ-83 anti-ship missiles in two twin launchers,
and an eight-cell short range point defence missile
system variously designated AJK-10 and FL-3000N.
The ship has a pair of triple anti-submarine torpedo
tubes. The sensor suite confirms their littoral mission
set. They have a Type 360 air/surface search radar,
a Type 760 navigation radar, one LR-66 fire control
radar, a Type 754 helicopter approach radar, a pair
of unidentified jammers, an unidentified active sonar,
an ECM system and a SATCOM system. The crew
size is reported to be 60-70 and they are normally
a Lieutenant-Commander command. Images of the
interior are confined to PLAN publicity shots and
show a conventional ship with limited damage control
capability and some poor damage control features,
such as the bridge apparently being wood-lined.
24 DefenceReviewAsia | SEPT/OCT 2014
Type 056 corvette Ganzhou
Credit: 樱井千一 - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Closeup of four SSM launchers.
Credit: 樱井千一 - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution
-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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