The enhanced Type 056A class of guided-missile corvettes serving the modern Chinese Navy (known formally as the "People's Liberation Army Navy" - PLAN) will eventually total some seventy-one warships in the series that includes the earlier, original Type 056 forms. As many as forty-four are in active service as of this writing (2020) with a further nine under construction. The ships are also operated beyond Chinese borders by the navies of Nigeria and Bangladesh.
Corvettes make up a vital part of current Chinese Navy doctrine, able to provide a quick-reaction strike force patrolling along its vast shoreline. The class is typically assigned to the East Seat Fleet, North Sea Fleet, and South Sea Fleet with some residing in Hong Kong waters. CNS Huangshi (502) is part of the modern Type 056A class and was commissioned during 2015 with a rating of 1,500 tons. She is assigned to the North Sea Fleet and is in active service status as of this writing (2020).
The corvette warship type is of typically compact dimensions, smaller than a "fighting frigate" but larger than a dedicated coastal patrol craft / fast attack boat. This gives such vessels the ability to operate close-to-shore while also maintaining capabilities to operate in "Blue Water" environments as part of a much larger ocean-going force. As such, the Huangshi is given dimensions that include a 90 meter length, a beam measuring 11 meters, and a draught down to 4 meters.
Its limited onboard capacity means the crew complement reaches a manageable 78 enlisted and officers as well as a small contingent assigned to the air arm (a single helicopter is supported). The vessel is equipped with a stern-based helipad which supports a single medium-lift helicopter, either of the utility or Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) variety, which can be launched and retrieved as needed. This aircraft supplies a valuable over-the-horizon capability that aids the ship's onboard sensor and tracking systems. These systems include the Type 347G series radar fit, a bow-mounted sonar unit, and a deployable towed sonar array.
Externally, the ship class showcases all-modern design elements including an unobstructed forecastle, low-profile bridge section, enclosed mastworks, low-profile / shielded smoke funnel, and aft hangar / helipad section. The sides of the hull superstructure are integrated smoothly into the hull proper, creating an unbroken line running from the forecastle to the extreme edge of the stern.
Internally, the warship is powered through 2 x SEMT Pielstick PA6-STC marine diesel engines driving 2 x Shafts astern. This provides the ship with a straight-line ocean-going speed of up to 25 knots and range is out to 3,500 nautical miles when traveling at 16 knots.
CNS Huangshi bristles with a wholly modern armament set designed to handle just about any at-sea threat - whether from the air, on the sea, or under it. The warship carries the traditional turreted deck gun, this being 1 x 76mmAK-176 automatic weapon system offering a conventional ballistic solution against surface threats and inshore targets. There are 2 x 2-cell launchers supporting the YJ-83 series Anti-Ship Missile (ASM) as well a 1 x 8-cell FL-3000N Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher. The ship also carries 2 x 30mm automatic guns for close-in work and can engage warships and submarines at range with its 2 x 324mm triple torpedo tubes.
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