Tuesday, February 26, 2013

China's navy

China launches stealth frigate amid ocean tensions

 China has launched the first ship in a new class of stealth missile frigates, state media reported Tuesday, amid ongoing tensions with neighboring countries over Beijing's maritime claims.
The People's Liberation Army Navy is building a total of 20 Type 056 Jiangdao class frigates to replace older models and bolster its ability to conduct patrols and escort ships and submarines in waters it claims in the South China and East China seas.
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There's no telling how stealthy this new frigate actually is, but given the description I really doubt that its all that stealthy:
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 The helicopter-equipped ships feature a sleek design to reduce clutter and make them harder to spot by radar and are armed with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles.
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From the description, the new frigate design doesn't actually incorporate stealth technology, it just has a somewhat reduced radar cross section - from reducing clutter aloft. In reality, making a naval vessel stealthy requires that one: Reduce noise as a precaution against passive SONAR, find a way to defeat or reduce the threat of active SONAR and radar, and finally reduce the wake to prevent detection by satellite or plane. As far as the article concerned, the Chinese have only reduced the radar threat, and there's no telling how well they've actually done that without having the US Navy check them out - and even if the USN did that, it would no doubt remain classified for a long time.
 Even so, China is gearing up to become a naval power, and given their past proclivities, current actions, and system of governance they bear a lot of watching, especially as our own military gears down.