China has commissioned a new warship. On December 29th, a Type 054A Jiangkai II-class frigate named Binzhou entered the East Sea Fleet according to images released on the Chinese microblogging site, Weibo.
This is the ninth Type 054A frigate to join the East Sea Fleet in active service. The East Sea Fleet is PLAN’s oldest fleet patrolling the East China Sea. One of the primary assignments for the fleet is to support an amphibious invasion of Taiwan should war break out. Type 054A frigates also form the backbone of escort and patrol missions in the South China Sea. Each ship is estimated to cost about $348 million.
The stealth frigate is equipped with HQ-16 medium range air defense missiles. It has a 32-cell vertical launching system (VLS) in the forward section which can fire anti-ship and air defense missiles along with anti-submarine torpedoes. It also has AK-360 fully automatic naval close in weapon system and a variation of the AK-176 76mm naval gun.
It is known that some Type 054A frigates have variable depth sonar and towed array sonar systems. They also have Type 382 phased-array radar systems and Type 344 and 345 multifunction fire control radar systems which allow for over the horizon targeting.
The ships have hangars that can accommodate Kamov K-27 and Harbin Z-9 helicopters or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The ship has a range of about 3,800 nautical miles (7,037km) at 18 knots and a maximum unrefueled radius of 12,000km, The Diplomat reported.
Type 054As have been found to be “limited in design in terms of its size, armament, and electronics outfit and is viewed as an intermediary design intended to play a specific, limited role in fleet defense.”