Saturday, March 2, 2013

A little write up on 056

I did a little write up today for Type 056 and here it is.

The first 056 class No. 582 was officially handed over to PLAN on the 25th of February as Wu Shengli, Commander of PLAN personally came to inspect the ship. While it is referred to as light frigate by Chinese news, it really should be classified as a corvette or OPV based on its size and displacements. This class is expected to be the next mass produced PLAN shipping class.

The type 056 class fills the gap between the 4000-ton 054A class frigate and 220-ton 022 class FAC. As of now, at least 9 other 056s have already been launched by the 4 shipyards building them. The overall number of this class is expected to be between the final count of 054A (probably around 20) and 022 (around 80). They are expected to replace the 10 Type 053 class Jianghu frigates currently serving in the South China Sea Patrol flotilla and the close to 50 Type 037 class missile boats.

In many ways, the type 056 hull is based on the Pattani class OPV that China built for Thailand from 2005 to 2006, although more signature reduction work is done such as the shielding of the funnels. Currently, 056 is equipped with 4 YJ-83s and AK-176M for ASuW missions along with a 8-cell HQ-10, AK-176M and two automated new single 30-mm barrel CIWS for self defense. Although the first few ships are not fitted with Towed Array sonar, it could provide some support for near sea ASW missions with a helipad large enough to hold Z-9C (and possibly Z-15 in the future), appearance of bow sonar bulb and 6 torpedo tubes installed in what looked to be the hangar. Most likely, the earliest 056 units will be used to replace Type 037s in the Hong Kong garrison and green water patrol missions. I expect a good number of Type 056 to eventually be used to patrol the disputed areas in South China Sea. Compared to the ships it is replacing, Type 056 requires 1/3 of the crew size of Jianghu class while offering more punch and similar endurance. Compared to Type 037, it should have better endurance, seakeeping and far stronger ASuW and AAW capabilities. It should be able to handle the naval threats from neighboring countries like Vietnam, Phillipines and Thailand. The goal is to free up larger ships like the Type 054A class and Type 052C/D class for blue water missions. In the future, I could also see ASW variants of Type 056 replacing the Type 037 sub chasers and more dedicated patrol versions of Type 056 with hangar large enough to hold 2 S-100 size UAVs.

27 comments:

i wonder the world said...

Hi Feng:

Thanks for your informative posts and analysis on the new corvette. I was curious whether you would be interested in doing up a comparison (however limited it may be due to the lack of publicly available information) on the estimated performance standards of the new Chinese ships (54, 53, 56...) compared to those of established navies such as the USN or that of Japan?

Feng said...

hmm, I think that will be pretty hard to do since the Chinese systems are pretty hard to determine outside of the dimensions and the number of missiles.

DLF1977 said...

This might be a little off topic, but has the Chinese admiralty considered sending the Sovremenneys and 051C destroyers to the Spratleys? Even if extra C4I equipment must be brought on board to make them compatible with PLN's newest ships, surely the Sovremenneys and 051Cs, combined with the 056 frigates, are capable of handling most (if not all) Spratley-islands adversaries. Moreover, the Spratley islands are still close enough to the Chinese mainland that extra logistical support should not be too difficult. In other words, patrols in the Spratleys should give the Sovremenneys and 051Cs a new purpose.

Another comment, which risks straying further from topic, is about other new PLN warship plans. The Ukraine was rumoured to have heavily lobbied Beijing to purchase its Slava-class cruiser. Does the PLN intend to introduce missile cruisers inspired by the Slava-class? Or better yet, does the PLN intend to go take inspiration from the past, and build a battleship equipped with rail guns, rocket torpedoes, S-400 calibre SAMS, and 2 helicopters? For what I understand modern warships are nowhere near as armoured as the Iowa-class BB, and as such it would even sink the Ticonderoga "cruisers" due to its ability to absorb multiple hits, and the Ticonderoga only being able to absorb a few 16-inch hits.

Comments?

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Meng-yuan said...

There have been some complaints about the lack of firepower on Type 056. In particular, its anti-air defense is unlikely to be sufficient against modern jets like the SU-30s fielded by Vietnam. This means that it will not be able to operate alone in the southern part of South China sea, where Chinese air cover faces a large distance disadvantage.

jxz said...

@meng-yuan I agree with you 056 is not meant to facing off fully-equipped SU-30s. They are meant to face off small patrolling vessels fielded by Navies in the regions. Involvements of Su-30 would indicate an escalation of the conflict, and that's when big guns like the aircraft carrier would come in.

Shiro Omiai said...

@ DLF 1977

Sovremenneys and 051C may not be suitable in Spratly as the sea there is shallow and the ships may ran aground.

A more viable way is that these bigger ship should keep at some distance whilst ship like 056 goes there to patrol aided by drone or fighters coverage from above or these bigger ships from a near distance.

Maybe these 056 may had to have satellite real-time link with other more forceful vessel or plane or control area that are within the vicinity to help or assist when it is required immediately or at reasonable time.

Shiro Omiai said...

@ DLF 1977

Sovremenneys and 051C may not be suitable in Spratly as the sea there is shallow and the ships may ran aground.

A more viable way is that these bigger ship should keep at some distance whilst ship like 056 goes there to patrol aided by drone or fighters coverage from above or these bigger ships from a near distance.

Maybe these 056 may had to have satellite real-time link with other more forceful vessel or plane or control area that are within the vicinity to help or assist when it is required immediately or at reasonable time.

Feng said...

you don't want to send these large warships there. The point of building 056 is to allow the larger warships venture further offshore.

Meng-yuan said...

Today is the 25th anniversary of the 1988 sea battle over 3 Spratly islands between China and Vietnam. Although the small Chinese fleet basically wiped out the even smaller Vietnamese one on that day, the former had to withdraw hastily at the end of the battle out of fear of the Vietnamese SU-22's coming for revenge, even though the Vietnamese were so unprepared that they never scrambled the jets. Makes one wonder how much things have changed.

It is all AMAZING said...

"Although the small Chinese fleet basically wiped out the even smaller Vietnamese one on that day, the former had to withdraw hastily at the end of the battle out of fear of the Vietnamese SU-22's coming for revenge, even though the Vietnamese were so unprepared that they never scrambled the jets."

Where you heard this Vietcong grandmother story from?

Meng-yuan said...

The memoir of the Chinese commander (a senior colonel at the time).

Currently, China only controls one of the three reefs fought over that day. The other two are controlled by Vietnamese.

Meng-yuan said...

By the way, the memoir of the political commissar on the only SAM-equipped Chinese frigate at the site (and the only one in the entire PLAN at the time) remembered it a little differently. He claims that the Vietnamese SU-22's did arrive but stayed outside of missile range. The frigate was bluffing with its targeting radar because it had no real missiles on board. This article can be found here: http://www.guancha.cn/history/2013_03_14_131791.shtml

It is all AMAZING said...

A word of caution. The link you provided has a malicious virus that may damaged your hardware.

Seriously I would take all opinions with a pinch of salt e.g. I do not know why the Vietnamese bloggers were screaming foul claiming that PLAN massacred their gallant sailors who found to the last men without even sighting a Chinese PLAN sailor in their transporters.

Much like the Vietnamese Propagandists who claimed that their Vietnamese Border Guards killed thousands of PLA soldiers losing only 1 man in 1979. How did they managed to count the PLA dead when they were retreating? Is that logical? Or the 10,000 USA warplanes, they shot down during NAM.




DLF1977 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DLF1977 said...

"you don't want to send these large warships there. The point of building 056 is to allow the larger warships venture further offshore."

I realise that, but I recall one of your earlier posts stating the Sovremenneys and 051Cs were essentially obsolete, because they are not naturally compatible with the newest indigenously built ships, and their range is not so good. Again, is there any chance of seeing 056 FFGs, Sovremenneys, and/or 051Cs in a Spratley Islands task force?

It is all AMAZING said...

From what I read, the smaller 056 corvette is specially designed for the shallow water around the Sunda Shelf in the SCS.

Most of the system on board the 056 are computerized and automated, that is why it requires only 60 men to manned the ship.
Perhaps Feng may like to comment on this.

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