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New Generation Corvettes Of Chinese Navy - The 056 Class Frigates

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By Author: dotstan
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On Nov 4, 2010, the PLA garrison in HK visited the University of Hong Kong and presented a ship model. The model is prominently marked "056" at the bow, showing it may be China's new generation corvettes.

From the model, the 056 is structured in the Central Bridge ship type, which is a mainstream type of the corvettes. This type provides a larger internal volume and space, but not suitable for ocean-going operations for its shallow draught, which shows the focus on offshore operations. Its superstructure is short and tilts inward, revealing the 056 is some stealth to improve the viability of modern naval warfare. Referencing to the slightly larger the active Chinese Navy 053H2 frigate, 056 is about 90-100 meters, with a standard displacement of about 1,500 tons, full load displacement of nearly 2,000 tons, single screw propulsion and dual diesel engines, estimate power of about 12200KW.

From the model, 056 ship's weapons, electronic system is relatively simple. An AK-176 76 mm single-tube automatic gun is equipped at the bow, which means that the gun has become a standard of China's light and medium size warships. ...
... The gun is able to be used for strike missions towards enemy ships and coast, as well as fire against air targets. A 347G fire control radar at the mast base controls the AK-176, and a SR-60 air/sea radar on the top is the main detection system.

Between the mast and chimney are two YJ-83 anti-ship missile double-launchers, behind which are navigation radar and an FN-3000 short-range defense system, which is similar to the US "SeaRAM" and strengthened air defense ability of China's light and medium vessels. The 056 may be equipped with triple-launchers of anti-submarine torpedo, considering both its spherical bow and stealth feature. Following the trend, on the stern is a Z-9 helicopter landing deck.

Why 056? First, as China's expanding naval combat focus, its coastal defense operations capacity should as well be strengthened to adapt to new threats to support navy's ocean-going mobile operations. Second, to replace a large number of old 053-based "Jianghu" frigates, 037 type "Hainan" subchasers. Third, a certain number of naval vessels are needed in disputed maritime areas to protect its political and economic interests. Offshore patrol ships like 056 will achieve an acceptable cost effective. Four, to response to non-military security threats like piracy, illegal immigration and smuggling, and threats of terrorism at sea, etc.

China's Navy exposures unexpectedly the developing weaponry shows its growing confidence, as well as continuous capacity-building of the coastal defense as developing ocean-going combat capability. In fact, the 056 marks a comprehensive update and promotion of China's naval combat system, and an upgrade of the overall combat capability. However, the 056 needs to rebuild quickly its anti-submarine capability in the future to more effectively respond to underwater threats and create more favorable export conditions.

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