Sabtu, Desember 11, 2010

Photos provide clues for Chinese Type 056 corvette design

The first images of a probable new corvette design for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) have emerged following a visit by the deputy commander of the Hong Kong military garrison to a local college.

Photographs published on the Hong Kong University website showed Major General Wang Junli presenting a model of the vessel, which has an estimated displacement of between 1,000 tons and 1,800 tons and bears the pennant number 056, to the institution's vice chancellor during the visit on 4 November.

The presentation by a local military commander suggests that the new Type 056 corvette – if this is indeed its designation – may be intended to replace or supplement the PLAN's six Houjian-class (Type 037/2) fast attack craft (FACs). Armed with YJ-1 (C-801) surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs), these 528-ton craft have been based in Hong Kong since 1997.

According to Chinese sources, however, the new vessel is set to replace the Houxin-class (Type 037/G) attack craft and older Type 053S light frigates. Observers of the PLAN have known for some time that the service was planning an extensive construction programme for a corvette-sized vessel. This involved the procurement of well over two dozen units from several shipyards across China – along the lines of the Houbei-class [Type 022] catamaran FAC programme.

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