The Type 056 is a replacement for older and smaller warships such as the Type 037 corvettes or Type 053H frigates
In an article in the National Interest magazine, analyst Kyle Mizokami said that the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s rapid construction of warships made them an undeniable force. PLAN is not only in the process of modernizing but also expanding in scope, as reflected in the dense shipbuilding plan that has never been seen since the height of the Cold War.
In order to serve an ambitious maritime strategy, since the 1990s, PLAN has launched an unprecedented large naval shipbuilding program. From aircraft carriers to corvettes, PLAN is expanding faster than any other navy forces on Earth.
China is also accelerating the construction of small warships. The Type 056 is a replacement for older and smaller warships such as the Type 037 corvettes or Type 053H frigates. Type 056, also known as Jiangdao, is a multi-role warship capable of anti-submarine and surface warfare, escorting combat ship groups, in addition to performing surveillance and air defense missions. The Type 056A variant is equipped with towing sonar, hull-mounted sonar, and has additional anti-submarine weapons added.
The rapid growth of PLAN makes many countries in the world, especially those in the region very concerned. Type 056 class warships have been in service only since 2013, but by 2019 the Chinese Navy has built 41 warships of this class, equivalent to one and a half months of launching one ship. This average amount of time is probably even shorter if six more ships were sold to Bangladesh and Nigeria. What a terrifying speed of construction.
The construction of these ships is carried out by four Chinese shipbuilding companies. Such a wide range of tasks, combined with the fact that the older generation ships are gradually being retired, so it is easy to understand why PLAN concentrated on producing Type 056 in such a large quantity.
From the viewpoint of the vision as well as the purpose of equipment, the Type 056 does not carry electronic systems or weapons that are too bulky or complicated. All in moderation to simplify the design and manufacture, according to the motto: fast, many, good enough and cheap. Thanks to the optimal modular structure for industrialized fabrication, Chinese shipyards can simultaneously enter the mass production stage. In just a short time, dozens of Type 056 ships were completed.
Type 056 Jiangdao is thought to fill the capacity gap between the Type 022 missile boat and the Type 054A frigate. Looking at the appearance, it is easy to recognize the similarities between the Type 056 and the Western SIGMA 9113 corvette.
Chinese ships have a length of 90m, a beam of 11.14m, a draft of 4m and a full displacement of 1,500 tons. The hull is optimally designed for stealth, reducing radar signal reflection. The ship was equipped with a helicopter landing deck but no hangars, it can carry a helicopter known as Harbin Z-9.
Jiangdao class is equipped with a propulsion system including two SEMT Pielstick PA6-STC diesel motors. The ship can reach a maximum speed of 25 knots, the range can reach 3,500 nautical miles at a speed of 16 knots.
The crew consisted of 78 sailors, which were built for a durability of 15 days for sea missions.
Jiangdao has a Type 364 air reconnaissance radar, a Type 347 fire control radar to guide weapons and bow-mounted sonar. On the Type 056A anti-submarine version is equipped with SJG-206 low-frequency towed array sonar.
Firepower on board included the 76mm AK-176 naval gun, two 30mm cannon and four YJ-83 anti-ship missiles. FL-3000N surface-to-air missiles are carried in a single eight-cell launcher.
Finally, there are two triple-tube 324mm torpedo launchers, these may carry Yu-7 light anti-submarine torpedoes.
Chinese military officials say it is not too expensive to build 60 to 70 ships of this type, even in the future this number could reach 100 ships. Estimated unit price of a Type 056 vessel is currently only about 600 million Yuan, equivalent to $87 million. With this large number of small warships, China will use the wolves tactic to cover the islands it controls, including the entire nearby sea. From there, it is a stepping stone to unleash the power to further waters because the Type 056 still has great potential for modernization.
Thus, the Jiangdao-class warships will overwhelm the LCS fleet deployed by the US Navy in Asia-Pacific. It also far exceeds the number of missile fast attack warships that many countries in the region are actively building in response to PLAN’s rapid development in an asymmetric strategy.
Obviously, this development will require potential rivals of Beijing to quickly set new directions, otherwise the disparity of forces will be increasingly vast, leading to more violent and unreasonable actions taken by China in the seas it claims.
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