China releases details of a new stealth missile frigate. It’s part of a military modernization process amid ongoing tensions over Beijing’s maritime claims in the region.
The first ship of the Type 056 Jiangdao class frigates was handed over to China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in Shanghai, home to one of the country’s largest naval shipyards.
The stealth frigate Number 586 is a new design with sloped surfaces made as clean as possible, it also has reduced superstructure clutter. It features advanced technologies that will make it harder to detect by radar, visual, sonar, and infrared methods, the Chinese navy said at their website.
China’s brand new vessel is armed with a 76-mm main gun based on the Russian AK-176 and 30-mm remote weapon systems. The main anti-ship armament consists of YJ-83 sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missiles in two twin-cell launchers. The primary anti-aircraft armament is one FL-3000N short range missile system with eight rounds. The ship is fitted with a helicopter deck at the stern but has no organic helicopter support facilities.
At 1,440 tons fully loaded, this frigate cruises at an estimated 28 knots and has about a 2,000 nautical mile range.
1400 tons is really more of a corvette than a frigate, but there’s no law that says they have to follow any particular naming convention.
And it’s a good looking little ship, with a reasonable mix of weapons and sensors.
Mind you, much of the value of a warship isn’t readily visible just by counting the mounts and antennae. Redundancy of critical systems, integration of sensors via the ships combat system, and its ability to network with other ships and platforms are critical to the overall effectiveness of a warship. And just how effective the Chinese radars and sonars are is open to argument. I’d argue that they’re not nearly as bad as many folks would immediately assume.
And because China doesn’t have to deploy these ships half way around the world to fulfill its mission set, they can build larger numbers of ships with modest capabilities. And quantity has a quality all its own.