Chinese Navy PLAN commissions final Type 056A corvettes

According to information published by Global Times on February 18, 2021, 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. China could then shift focus to produce more larger warships as part of the country's aim to build a blue-water navy.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Chinese Navy Type 056 Jiangdao-Class Corvette 625 Bazhong. (Picture source Twitter account Loongnaval)

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. The ships are named after cities in Central China's Henan Province.

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.

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.

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.

The Type 056 or Jiangdao- class is a class of corvette in service with the Chinese People's Liberation (PLA) Navy. The Type056A version is used to perform anti-submarine warfare (ASW). The ship entered production by late 2013. One of the first, 593 Sanmenxia, was launched in November 2013 with a modified hull to accommodate the added ASW gear.

Type 056A is an improved variant of the Type 056 class corvette equipped with a towed sonar array and variable depth sonar (VDS). The armament of the ship includes YJ-83 anti-ship missiles that have been removed and replaced by a 2x4 multi-barrel rocket launcher to engage submerged submarines. Besides, the weapon system comprises a PJ26 76mm naval gun, two PJ17 30mm cannons, a single 8-cell HQ-10 air-defense system (eight FL-3000N surface-to-air missiles) and 2x3 torpedo tubes filled with Yu-7 or Yu-8 torpedoes.