|Type 053 Frigates|
recently sold used frigates to Myanmar and Bangladesh, two nations that
have had naval disputes with each other in the past. Burma got two Type
53H1 frigates, built in the 1980s. The Burmese Type 53s are 2,000 ton
ships armed with four anti-ship missiles, two 100mm guns, and lots of
depth charges. Bangladesh is getting two Type 53H2, which were built in
the early 1990s and are generally the same as the 53H1s but carry eight
anti-ship missiles. Both nations paid very little for their Type 53s
(probably free), but compared to what these two fleets already had, the
used frigates were a step up.
China built 53 Type 53 frigates (that’s a lot). Based on the older
Soviet Riga class frigates, the Chinese expanded the original 1,400 ton
design (armed with depth charges, three 100mm guns, and torpedoes) to a
missile laden 2,000-2,500 ton vessel equipped with modern electronics.
The latest version, called the F-22, is built only for export. The
primary customer is Pakistan (four sold so far). The remaining Type 53s
are mainly used for coastal patrol.
The F-22P is the newest version of the Chinese Jiangwei II (053H3). The
123 meter long F-22P displaces 2,500 tons and carries an eight cell
short range (8.6 kilometers) FM-90N surface-to-air missile system. There
are two, four cell anti-ship missile systems (180 kilometers range
C-802s), two, three cell launchers for rocket launched ET-52C
anti-submarine torpedoes, and two, six cell RDC-32 anti-submarine rocket
launchers. There is also a 76.2mm gun, two 30mm anti-missiles
auto-cannon, and a helicopter. Each ship has a crew of 202 and a top
speed of 52 kilometers an hour. The F-22Ps are inexpensive, costing
about $200 million each. The new American LCS weighs about the same but
has only half as many sailors in the crew, lots more automation, and
costs over $600 million.