China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) appears to have begun sea trials for its 17th Type 056 Jiangdao-class missile corvette Suqian , based on photographs circulated on Chinese internet sources.
The 1,500-tonne vessel (pennant number 593) was spotted on several occasions at sea in waters around Hangzhou Bay in the last two weeks of August.
Suqian was built by Shanghai shipyard Hudong-Zhonghua, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation. The ship is likely to be commissioned by the end of 2014.
According to IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships , Type 056 vessels carry an eight-cell launcher for FL-3000N short-range surface-to-air missiles, and four launchers for C-802 surface-to-surface missiles. Main armament consists of the 76 mm AK-176 gun and two 30 mm cannon. The sensor suite comprises the Type 347G (LR 66) I-band fire-control radar and a bow-mounted sonar. To counter submarines, the ships are equipped with six 324 mm tubes that can deploy ordnance such as the Yu-7 lightweight anti-submarine torpedo.
The Type 056 ships have a top speed of 25 kt and a standard range of 3,500 n miles at 16 kt. They carry a crew of 78.
It is understood that China currently operates 14 Type 056 vessels. The PLAN is expected to acquire up to 30 hulls in the class, with the ships undertaking anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) patrols.