A new type of Chinese missile corvette, the principal role for which might be to project power in the South China Sea, could be launched “within days,” military watchers said on the weekend.
Talk of a Type 056 class first emerged in late 2010. So far, little technical information has been released about the corvettes, which are believed to lie in the 1,400-to-1,700-tonne category.
Two shipyards, Hudong Shipyard in Shanghai and Huangpu Shipyard in Guangzhou, are engaged in what appears to be a race to complete the vessels.
Officials at Hudong reportedly announced late last week that the first Type 056 corvette could be launched “within days,” with possible commissioning at the end of this year.
A total of four hulls are known to be under construction, with completion expected to follow soon after the delivery of the lead ship.
Designs of the Type 056 show fin stabilization for high seas navigation with weapons including a 76mm main gun, four surface-to-surface missile (SSM) launchers — reportedly for the YJ-83 SSM, the latest Chinese design — and one FL-1000 surface-to-air missile launcher.
The corvette could also come equipped with torpedoes for limited anti-submarine capability.
It also has a helipad large enough to accommodate vertical takeoff and landing for unmanned aerial vehicles.
Analysts believe the Type 056 could replace or augment the six Type 037 Houjian 528 fast-attack craft that have been based in Hong Kong since 1997, with future production for other People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) fleets, where they could replace aging attack craft and frigates. The corvette could also be intended for export markets, with reports that the Bangladeshi navy has already expressed interest in its acquisition.
The new corvettes will fill a gap between smaller offshore patrol vessels and larger frigates and could be ideal for action in the South China Sea, where China is embroiled in disputes with Vietnam and the Philippines.
Analysts believe medium-sized ships like the Type 056 are better suited to combat light missile frigates with similar displacement already deployed by competitors in the volatile, mineral-rich body of water.
Beyond China’s disputes with the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea, the new corvettes could also play a role in a conflict with Taiwan.
“The Type 056 looks like a rough match for the Taiwan Navy’s Lafayette frigates on a one-to-one basis,” James Holmes of the US Naval War College told the Taipei Times by e-mail last night. “Operated in ‘distributed’ fashion — multiple units networked to act in concert, combining their sensors and armaments — it would pose a serious challenge to Taiwan’s surface fleet in high-intensity combat.”
However, warships like the Type 056 are intended more to serve in a flotilla than to take part in major naval actions, Holmes said.
"Their armament is modest, but they outgun most competitors they’re likely to encounter in the South China Sea. They’re less useful in the Yellow and East China seas, where the competition is stiffer since the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the US Seventh Fleet are there,” he said.
In related developments, reports said on the weekend that the FFG 572 Yueyang — the 14th Type 054A destroyer in the PLAN — is scheduled to be commissioned with the 9th Destroyer Squadron in the South Sea Fleet sometime next year.
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
SAFETY CONCERNS: A construction company working nearby admitted to negligence in the incident, and is to pay a fine and other expenses related to damages Residents of homes adjacent to an alleyway in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) on Saturday were forced to evacuate their homes after the road collapsed, the New Taipei City government said yesterday. An 80m by 4m area in an alleyway on Wenhua Road (文化路) collapsed at 10:39am near an apartment building construction site where work was being done on the project’s foundation. The incident also ruptured an underground gas pipe and tilted several buildings in the area. Residents would not be able to return to their homes until tomorrow or Wednesday, when repairs are expected to be finished, the city government said. Workers
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
CHALLENGER DEEP: Lin Ying-Tsong was invited by Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo to join him on a 10-hour long trip in the company’s submersible Taiwanese-American Lin Ying-Tsong (林穎聰) last month became the first person from Asia and the 12th in human history to dive into the deepest part on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Lin, 45, an expert in deep sea acoustics with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, joined US adventurer and Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, 54, on June 22 in a descent to the central pool of the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the trench, which lies at a depth of more than 10,900m. The pair made the descent in a submersible named Limiting Factor, a US$37