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Type 056 class

Corvette

Type 056 class

The Chinese Type 056 class corvettes are mainly intended to operate in coastal waters

 
 
Country of origin China
Entered service 2013
Crew 60 - 73 men
Sea endurance 20 days (?)
Dimensions and displacement
Length 89 m
Beam 11.5 m
Draught 4.4 m
Displacement, standard ~ 1 300 tons
Displacement, full load 1 500 tons
Propulsion and speed
Speed 28 knots
Range 6 500 km at 16 knots
Propulsion CODAD propulsion with two SEMT diesel engines, generating 6 900 hp each. Power delivered to 2 shafts
Airwing
Helicopters 1 x Z-9C
Armament
Artillery 1 x 76 mm gun, 2 x 30 mm CIWS
Missiles 4 x JY-83 anti-ship missiles, 1 x 8-cell launcher with HHQ-10 SAM missiles
Torpedoes 2 x 324 mm torpedo tubes

 

   The Type 056 (Western reporting name: Jiangdao) is a first class of corvettes, manufactured in China. These mass-produced corvettes are intended for operations both close to and far away from the shore. These vessels can be used for a number of different missions.

   The first Type 056 corvette was adopted by the Chinese Navy in 2013. These corvettes are being built in large number and are currently replacing a number of older patrol craft, corvettes and frigates in service with the Chinese Navy. In 2016 there were more than 40 of these warships in various states of completion. These corvettes are indeed important warships of the Chinese Navy, because of how rapidly China is able to build them, and how well-equipped they are compared to most other patrol and escort vessels. In addition, the Type 056 has been exported to Nigeria and Bangladesh.

   Sudden appearance of these Chinese corvettes was quite a surprise to the West. The Type 056 is suitable for “green-water” operations. Basically, its design (and particularly its draught) is small enough for shallow coastal service, but seaworthy and large enough for open sea patrols. Nevertheless, it is still not a true open sea ship. China's naval modernization program has made no secret of its intention to produce an ocean-going navy with an increasingly long range. This new class of "brown water" corvettes, is sharp contrast to "blue water" warships like the Guanghou class destroyers and the Liaoning aircraft carrier, confirms that the PLAN intends to highly expand its coastal forces as well.

   The Type 056 is fitted with a number of stealth features, although it is certainly not a stealth ship. These features include sloped surfaces and a compact superstructure.

   The Type 056 augments the Type 022 missile boats in coastal patrols and the Type 054A class frigates in open sea operations.

   The Type 056 incorporates a high level of automation, reducing crew size.

   Despite its small size, the Type 056 packs a sizeable punch, though it is intended primarily for costal patrol missions and other low-intensity tasks.

   It is a competent Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) vessel with two 324 mm torpedo tubes and landing pad, but not a hanger, for a single Z-9C helicopter. This helicopter can use radar, sonar, and anti-submarine torpedoes. Also, according to some sources, the Type 056 warship has Type 87 anti-submarine rockets. The equipping of the newer variants with towed and variable depth sonars indicates that a major role, perhaps the main role, of the Type 056 Class is anti-submarine warfare.

   When engaging ships, the Type 056 uses two twin-cell launchers for supersonic sea-skimming YJ-83 anti-ship cruise missiles that have a range of around 200 kilometers. For close range this corvette has a single AK-176 76 mm dual-purpose gun. It fires 12.4 kg shells at a rate of 30-120 rounds per minute to a maximum range of 15.7 kilometers. This gun has 152 rounds ready to fire at all times. It can be used against a wide variety of targets: ships, aircraft, coastal positions, shore targets, and even missiles (though with a lower pK ratio than dedicated close-in weapon systems).

   The Type 056’s air defense system is for short-range use only. The single launcher is loaded with eight HHQ-10 short-range Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs). These missiles are of fire-and-forget type and have a range of up to 9 kilometers. As stated before, the AK-176 is a capable weapon against many targets including aircraft and missiles up to a maximum range of 15 kilometers. In addition, the Type 056’s two 30 mm cannons, which can be operated manually or automatically, are reasonably effective close-range “last-ditch” weapons.

   Other equipment of the Type 056 class includes one inflatable boat, four inflatable life rafts, two jammers, decoy launchers, Type 347G fire-control radar, helicopter control and approach radar, and bow-mounted sonar.

   Propulsion is via Combined Diesel and Diesel (CODAD) system, consisting of two SEMT Pielstick PA6-STC diesel engines with a combined output of 13 800 shp, driving 2 shafts. These corvettes reportedly have a range of 6 500 km (3 500 nautical miles).

   The Type 056 has been produced at a prodigious rate—production only started in 2012 and already, on February 20, 2016, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has commissioned its 25th vessel of the class. In comparison, production of a contemporary US class, the Freedom class, has been tremendously slow—production began in 2005, and only 3 ships have been commissioned by 2016. The PLAN intended to operate at least 30 ships of this class, with an option for additional 30 ships.

   The bow of the Type 056 class is gently raked, with a raised spray shield. A shallow crease from the forecastle to the stern marks the only visible representation of the rest of the hull, which is otherwise completely covered by the superstructure. These corvettes are built with a deep V-shape. This shape improves speed and seaworthiness, possibly making this corvette class safe in Sea State 8. The endurance of the Type 056 class corvettes is reportedly low, although the class is intended primarily to operate in the coastal waters near China.

   The unit cost of the Jiangdao class corvette has an estimated cost of $200 million for the baseline Type 056 configuration. Its anticipated operating costs are $12 million per year. These costs are exceptionally low compared to most comparable Western corvettes, due mostly to their sheer numbers (whose resulting sales have almost certainly paid-off the project cost by now), and their simple configuration; though more cynical observers would add that the accomodation, quality control and construction standards of the Jiangdao class might be lower as well.

 

Variants

 

   Type 056A: a designation used to describe the newer and improved ships of the Type 056 class with additional ASW capabilities. A small number of vessels in this class were selected to receive additional ASW equipment, such as towed and variable depth sonar. Production of these began late in 2013. The unit cost of the Type 056A class corvette has an estimated cost of $230 million.

   P18: export model of the Type 056 with somewhat larger dimensions. Armament, however, appears to be essentially the same. The P18 itself has two different sub variants, the C13B and P18N, depending on the country. So far, four P18’s have already been exported—two to Bangladesh (C13B) and two to Nigeria (P18N). Another one is being built for Nigeria as well. In addition, Kazakhstan and Argentina have considered buying P18’s.

   C13B: a sub variant of the P18 for use by the Bangladesh Navy. It carries the same equipment as the Type 056, except that it lacks the sonar and torpedo tubes. So, clearly, it is to be a simple patrol vessel with short-range anti-air capability, but with no ASW equipment. Bangladesh already operates two of this class, and another two are under construction. Unlike the P18N, the 13B is about the same size as the standard Type 056.

   P18N: termed an offshore patrol vessel (OPV), the P18N is Nigeria’s variant of the P18. It is a good deal larger at 1800 tons and 95 meters in length. Armament is almost entirely for surface-to-surface warfare. It carries a single 76 mm gun, two 30 mm guns, and two 20 mm guns. It also has both a hangar and landing pad. So far, two are in service and it is unlikely that any others will be.

   Coast Guard patrol vessel. It is a version of the Type 056 with some superstructure changes and lacking all armament. The CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding yard is constructing these patrol vessels. The total number planned, as well as the names and designation of the vessels, are as of yet unannounced.

 

Chinese Navy

 

Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Xinyang (501) ? ? 2015

active, in service

Huangshi (502) ? ? 2015

active, in service

(503) ? ? ?

?

Quinhuangdao (505) ? 2014 2015

active, in service

Datong (580) ? 2012 2013

active, in service

Yingkou (581) ? 2012 2013

active, in service

Bengbu (582) ? 2012 2013

active, in service

Shangrao (583) ? 2012 2013

active, in service

Meizhou (584) ? 2012 2013

active, in service

Baise (585) ? 2012 2013

active, in service

Ji'an (586) ? 2013 2014

active, in service

Jieyang (587) ? 2013 2014

active, in service

Quanzhou (588) ? ? 2014

active, in service

Quingyuan (589) ? ? 2014

active, in service

Weihai (590) ? ? ?

active, in service

(591) ? ? ?

?

Luzhou (592) ? 2013 2014

active, in service

Sanmenxia (593) ? 2013 2014

active, in service

Zhu Zhou (594) ? ? 2014

active, in service

(595) ? ? ?

?

Huizhou (596) ? 2012 2013

active, in service

Qinzhou (597) ? 2012 2013

active, in service

? ? ? ?

active, in service

? ? ? ?

active, in service

? ? ? ?

active, in service

? ? ? ?

active, in service

? ? ? ?

active, in service

? ? ? 2016

active, in service

? ? ? ?

?

? ? ? ?

?

 

Bangladesh Navy

 

Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Shadhinota (F111) ? 2014 2015

active, in service

Prottoy (F112) ? ? 2015

active, in service

 

Nigerian Navy

 

Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Centenary (F91) ? 2014 2015

active, in service

Unity (F92) ? ? ?

active, in service

? ? ? ?

under construction

 

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Type 056 class

Type 056 class

Type 056 class

Type 056 class

Type 056 class


 
Type 056 class

Type 056 class

Type 056 class

Type 056 class

Type 056 class


 
Type 056 class

Type 056 class

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