The People's Liberation Army Navy Surface Force of China currently (2018) features over forty Type 056 corvette warships. The type is also in service with the navies of Bangladesh and Nigeria (as the export-minded "P18"). The vessels are primarily used as patrol units with capabilities to counter surface- and aerial-based threats and were adopted to succeed the Type 053H anti-ship frigates. Some have been evolved into a potent Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) variant through the Type 056A subclass. The Type 056 have followed the earlier 1960s-era Type 037 corvettes into service.
NATO recognizes these ships as the "Jiangdao".
As naval corvettes, the Type 056 family is a dimensionally contained design that falls between traditional coastal-minded missile boats and full-sized ocean-going ("Blue Water") frigates. They offer all-modern systems including a bow-mounted sonar array, a towed sonar array and the Type 347G radar unit. Stealth features are built into the design complete with slab-sides and a limit to the number of protrusion featured. The smoke stacks are of a low-profile design and the mast is fully-enclosed. Over the forecastle is a single turreted deck gun and the aft-section of the ship sports a helipad/hangar combination area - the latter quality used to service a single medium-lift navy helicopter.
Installed power is from 2 x SEMT PIELSTICK PA6-STC diesel motors and this provides the vessel with a maximum ocean-going speed of 25 knots out to a range of 3,500 nautical miles (when traveling at 16 knots). Aboard is a crew of seventy-eight.
Installed armament is 1 x 76mm AK-176 deck gun, 2 x 30mm anti-aircraft autocannons, 2 x Twin-cell YJ-83 anti-ship missile launchers, 1 x 8-cell FL-3000N Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher and 2 x 324mm triple torpedo tubes. The supported helicopter can also aid in the sub-hunting/ship-hunting and over-the-horizon spotting roles.
Dimensions include a length of 90 meters, a beam of 11.14 meters and a draught of 4 meters. Displacement reaches 1,500 tons.
The first Type 056 corvette appeared in mid-2012 and the series is still in active construction, implying more units will be added to the inventory in due time. The design serves the North Sea Fleet, the East Sea Fleet and the South Sea Fleet. Various builders have been involved in the project including the shipyards of Hudong, Huangpu and Wuhan. First ships appeared in early 2013 and the modified Type 056A series (CNS Huangsh 502, CNS Sanmenxia 593 and CNS Zhuzhou 594) began service in 2014.
The Bangladeshi Navy will field a total of four Type 056 corvettes (Shadhinota, Prottoy, Shongram and an unnamed, under-construction unit). The Nigerian Navy has in its possession two of the Type 056 warships (Centenary and Unity).