The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has commissioned a new Type 81A mine countermeasure vessel (MCMV) into the North Sea Fleet.
The vessel, named Yucheng and given the hull number 846, is the North Sea Fleet’s second Type 081A and will be based in Dalian in Liaoning Province, according to the Chinese Ministry of National Defense. The ship will be tasked with coastal patrol duties and specifically with the protection of the fishery fleet.
The Type 81A is an improved variant of the Type 81/Wochi class. Four Type 81 and six Type 81As are currently in PLAN service.
Built by the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai and by the Wuchuan Shipyard in Wuhan, the Type 81A is the PLAN’s largest MCMV. It has a full-load displacement of 1,009.5 tons, length of 67.6 m, width of 10 m and is armed with one Type H/PJ14 single tube 30 mm gun on the foredeck.
The PLAN has long suffered from a deficiency in MCMVs, both in quantity and quality. While the issue is well-known in China and is considered a serious weakness in its coastal defensive posture, the construction of MCMVs does not appear to be a priority.
Only two new vessels were commissioned in 2014 (including 846), two in 2013 and two again in 2012.