The Royal Thai Navy invested in four of the Chinese-made Type 053HT-class warships to serve in the guided-missile frigate role. Fifty-three of this type were made for both the Chinese Navy and several foreign buyers including Thailand. The four commissioned were HTMS Chao Phraya (FFG-455), HTMS Bangpaking (FFG-456), HTMS Kraburi (FFG-457) and HTMS Saiburi (FFG-458). The warships were built in the early-1990s through a Chinese export initiative and thus went on to lack some of the standard fittings found on Chinese Navy versions.
HTMS Saiburi, the focus of this article, remains in service as of this writing (2018).
As a guided-missile frigate, HTMS Saiburi can be called upon to undertake various mission types individually or as part of the main fleet. Its armament is a mix of conventional projectile-based weapons as well as some missile-minded systems. Various systems aboard the vessel provide the warship with a modern capability when confronting various sea-based and incoming aerial threats.
The warship displaces up to 1,500 tons and has an overall length of 338.5 feet, a beam of 35.4 feet and a draught of 10 feet. Installed power is a diesel arrangement allowing the ship to make headway at about 26 knots out to a range of 4,600 miles (when cruising at 18 knots). She is armed through 2 x 100mm turreted deck guns, 6 x SY-1 surface-to-surface / anti-ship missile launchers, 4 x 37mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns (in two twin-gunned installations), 2 x Type 81 quintuple torpedo tubes, 2 x Type 62 5-tube mortar launchers and 2 x Depth charge racks.
The forecastle is raised towards the bow and the hull superstructure is forward-heavy. The bridge overlooks the forecastle in the usual sense with the main mast featured directly aft. The mast is of an enclosed pyramidal type and is home to the "Sun Visor" fire control director. A single smoke funnel is found at midships and this is of a low profile design. A short secondary mast (lattice-style) if fitted towards the stern. Her aft-section has a helideck for supporting a single Navy helicopter.