The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently commissioned its last batch of Type 056A corvettes specialized in coastal defense, with the total number of the Type 056 series reaching 72, as analysts predicted on Wednesday that China could then shift focus to produce more larger warships as part of the country’s aim to build a blue-water navy.
The final two Type 056A corvettes delivered to the PLA Navy, the Nanyang, with the hull number of 619, and the Shangqiu, with the hull number of 618, entered service in late January and early February respectively, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.
The ships are named after cities in Central China’s Henan Province, the CCTV report said.
Independently developed and produced, the Type 056 series guided missile corvette has two variations, namely the Type 056 and the Type 056A, with a total of six slightly different configurations, the Henan Daily reported on Monday.
Since the launch of the first Type 056 in 2012, China has built 22 hulls of this class for coastal defense and daily patrol operations, followed by 50 hulls of Type 056As, which saw improvements in terms of anti-submarine warfare, minesweeping and other performance parameters, the newspaper said.
With a full displacement of around 1,300 tons, the Type 056 guided missile corvette is 89 meters long and 11.14 meters wide, according to js7tv.cn, a website affiliated with the PLA.
After the commissioning of all Type 056 series corvettes, China has gained a considerably powerful coastal defense force in missions like patrol and safeguarding of territorial waters in locations including the South China Sea and East China Sea, a Chinese military analyst who asked to remain anonymous told the Global Times on Wednesday.
With China’s increasing shipbuilding capacity and its goal of developing blue-water naval capabilities, the country will likely turn to build more larger warships like Type 054A frigates, Type 052D destroyers, Type 055 large destroyers, as well as Type 075 amphibious assault ships and aircraft carriers, the analyst predicted, noting that Type 056 series corvettes are too small to efficiently operate on the high seas.
China wrapped up production of the final Type 056A Aba, named after the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, in December 2019, local media reported at that time. But the Aba seems to have entered service earlier than the Nanyang and the Shangqiu.