Observations at the Dalian Shipyard in Liaoning, China, have unveiled a new type of military vessel, sparking intrigue and speculation among analysts.
The new vessel, identified as a stealth corvette, represents a groundbreaking addition to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), marking the first of its kind within their fleet.
Currently, there are no confirmed details regarding this vessel, leading experts to hypothesize that it could potentially herald a new class of lightweight military ships, potentially replacing the existing Type 056 corvettes (NATO reporting name: Jiangdao-class corvettes) utilized by the PLAN. However, conflicting opinions suggest the possibility of this being an export order for an undisclosed buyer.
While information remains scarce, leaked images online have offered insights into the vessel’s features. Analysts have noted that the vessel’s hull incorporates extensive measures to reduce various signatures, a testament to its advanced stealth capabilities.
The corvette’s hull design features large, flat, angled surfaces meticulously crafted to minimize multiple signatures, including optical and infrared, above-water acoustic and hydroacoustic, underwater electrical potential and magnetic, pressure, radar cross-section, and actively emitted signals.
The corvette appears to be equipped with vertical launch systems for missiles, with the main gun expected to be 76mm caliber. Additionally, the vessel includes the Hongqi-10 (HQ-10) surface-to-air missile system and a helicopter deck for a Z-9-sized helicopter.
The emergence of this advanced vessel signifies China’s continued advancements in naval capabilities, potentially signaling a strategic shift in its naval warfare capabilities and international naval exports.