China's East Sea Fleet bolstered by new frigate

Taipei, Jan. 18 (CNA) A report by China's state-run China News Service (???) said Jan. 16 that the Huanggang-class (??) Type054A multi-role frigate has become the latest addition to the People's Liberation Army's East Sea Fleet. Assigned with the pennant number 577, the Huanggang-class frigate rolled off the assembly line in April 2013 and was commissioned Jan. 16. The ship's armaments include 32 HQ-16 "red banner" radar-guided surface-to-air missiles and 8 YJ-83 "eagle strike" infra-red and millimeter-wave radar-guided anti-ship missiles capable of supersonic travel. Most notably, the report points out that the vessel has been upgraded with additional bay fixtures at its stern that will allow the installation of towed array sonar systems for enhanced effectiveness in target detection in anti-submarine warfare. Towed radar arrays sonar greatly improve submarine detection, as sensors systems can be trailed several kilometers behind a vessel, away from the ship's own noise sources. In addition, a Chinese military forum website has said that the frigate has also been refitted with the Type 1130 close-in weapon system, which consists of 11 30-mm caliber guns with rate-of-fire capability rated at between 9,000 to 11,000 rounds per minute. Forum users said that following the upgrades, the Huanggang's anti-submarine capabilities might even exceed that of China's Type 052C and Type 052D destroyers. In conjunction with its destroyers, the frigate is expected to bolster the medium-to-high altitude air defense capabilities of the East Sea Fleet, according to forum users. (By Zep Hu and Ted Chen)