Chinese Navy commissions two new Type 056A corvettes

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has commissioned two new Type 056A Jiangdao-class corvettes this month.

Guangyuan (552) was commissioned on Nov. 16 during at Guangzhou naval base while Suining (551) was commissioned on Nov. 28 in Guangdong province.

China has so far commissioned seven Type 056 corvettes this year in which all are Type 056A anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variants. Out of the 37 Type 056 corvettes commissioned to the PLAN fleet since 2013, 21 are of the baseline variant and 16 are Type 056A ASW variant.

Type 056/ 056A corvette

Type 056 (NATO reporting name: Jiangdao-class) stealth corvettes replace older patrol crafts and some of the Type 053H frigates. Type 056A is the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) variant of Type 056.

The Type 056 is 90 metres long and displaces 1500 tons It is capable of a top speed of 25 knots (46 km/h), and a range of 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km) at 16 knots (30 km/h).

The vessel’s armament includes AK-176 76 mm gun, two 30 mm. cannon, four YJ-83 anti-ship missiles, single eight-cell launcher armed with FL-3000N surface-to-air missiles and two triple-tube 324 mm. torpedo launchers that can be armed with Yu-7 light ASW torpedoes.

The basic Type 056 is equipped with Type 347G (LR66) radar and bow-mounted sonar. The Type 056A adds towed array and variable depth sonar (VDS) speculated to be a copy of Italian/US DE-1163 or the French DUBV-43.

The vessel has a helicopter deck for a Z-9-sized helicopter, but no hangar. The Type 056 is suited for mid-range missions and littoral duties, but not for major blue-water combat operations.

The first Type 056 entered service in February 2013 whileType 056A entered service in November 2014. The P18 is the export version of Type 056. One P18 has been delivered to Nigeria, with additional units under construction for Bangladesh.

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