Military History | How To Make War | Wars Around the World Rules of Use How to Behave on an Internet Forum
Surface Forces Discussion Board
   Return to Topic Page
Subject: The Chinese Solution For The South China Sea
SYSOP    3/11/2013 5:35:34 AM
Quote    Reply

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
Skylark       3/11/2013 8:03:40 PM
Before we give too much credit to China where credit isn't due... The type 056 Corvette of 2013 is really just a close copy of the Pattani class offshore patrol boat, designed in Thailand, or for Thailand (?), but built for the Royal Thai Navy by China back in 2005/06.  This helps to explain why China developed the 056 so quickly, and why they gave such a great deal to the RTN to build it.  This also makes me wonder if the ongoing program of copying other nations designs and then undercutting those same nations by selling the finished hardware on the open market without having to invest in R&D or pay licensing fees will eventually create some sort of backlash; I.E. the banning of advanced designs being built in China in the first place.  As far as the 056 itself is concerned, I don't see how it will be much of an improvement over the older type 053.  Everything I have read indicates that the draft of the type 056 is no better than that of the 053 at 3 meters, (Same as the Pattani OPB.) and some write-ups give the 056 a draft of 4 meters, making it actually less suitable for shallow, reef-infested waters.  It can carry a helicopter, yes, but unlike the RTN Pattani class OPB, the type 056 corvette has no protective hangar or maintenance capability, which severely limits its usefulness out of sight of the Chinese mainland.  It has a smaller crew, and is more heavily armed than the Pattani, but without a more permanent helicopter facilities, the type 056 is actually less capable, less versatile, and really not all that much better than the ship it was built to replace.
Quote    Reply

andylove       3/13/2013 11:19:50 PM
You do realize Pattani is designed by and built in China for Thailand? 
Quote    Reply

Skylark       3/14/2013 8:22:02 AM
Actually, I wasn't sure who designed the Pattani class OPB, (hence the "?" in my comment.) but everything I read seemed to point away from China as the designer.  Here is a quote from Janes Defense...
"Western observers first became aware of the Type 056 design in late 2010, likening it to the Royal Thai Navy's two Pattini-class offshore patrol vessels, which were built in Shanghai and entered service in 2005 and 2006."
Why say "built in Shanghai"?  Why not just say "built by China"?  It's sort of like saying the California built F-22.  And why would Janes state that Western observers first became aware of a ship in 2010, if it was a Chinese design, built in China back in 2005?  Wouldn't they just state that China was creating a new variant of their older Pattani-class OPB, sans helicopter facilities?
The Royal Thai website ( has a similar odd comment...
"First, RTN commission 2 Pattani-class OPV. The Overall program cost is about $100,000,000. It is the RTN original design ship but they build in China for the financial reason. (More cheaper and we don’t have enough money at that time.)"
I'm sure you can appreciate my confusion on the matter, but if the Pattani really was a Chinese indigenous design, it makes the fact that there is no hangar for a helicopter on the type 056 that much more baffling.  China expects to, not simply operate the 056 offshore, but to sell it on the open market.   But without a hanger to shelter and maintain a helicopter, the 056 doesn't seem to have a lot going for it, beyond being over-armed for its size.   I wish I could read your links, andylove, but they keep dead-ending on the SP website.  Could you steer me to an article on where the Pattani's design is conclusively attributed to China?  Thanks.
Quote    Reply

Skylark       3/14/2013 5:38:22 PM
Oh, and one more thing, andylove... If you could use a source outside of China on the "who designed the Pattani class OPB" question, that would be appreciated.  China already has a well-established reputation for claiming original ownership over designs  they obviously stole from other nations.
Quote    Reply

Skylark    and the winner is....   3/15/2013 4:50:22 PM
It looks as though you were right about China designing the Pattani class OPV, andylove.  I found an article written by
Prasun K. Sengupta for china-defense blogspot, from 2006, entitled: THAILAND ACQUIRES CHINESE OPVs & APCs.  Here is a quote...
"The OPVs have been built by the China State Shipbuilding Corp’s (CSSC) Shanghai-based Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard under an agreement signed in May 2002. The first OPV is named HTMS Pattani (511) and it was delivered to Thailand on December 16. The second OPV, called HTMS Naratiwat (512), will be delivered this March."
 Here is an entry from an article, also found on china defense blogspot...
"Chinese shipyards are capable of building such a corvette -- it bears a resemblance to the Thai Navy's Pattani-class OPV which China exported in 2006. The Type 056 would up-gun the Thai OPV with four YJ-3/C803 ASM and a FL-3000N RAM launcher aft."
I also picked up some interesting crosstalk on  the Philippine Defense forum from a blogger named Israeli...
VT Halter Marine might actually push for a new OPV design to compete for the PN tender. if the rule on proven design will be followed strictly, then VT Halter Marine might not even make it. instead, designs that might have a shot at the PN OPV "contest" may include, among others, BAE Systems' Port of Spain class OPV design, China State Shipbuilding Corporation's Pattani class OPV design, and Blohm and Voss' MEKO-based Sentinel class OPV design.
As near as I can surmise, the Pattani was originally an export only design, (most likely) built to Thai specifications by CSSC, and that it was used as the starting point for the type 056, which explains why the Pattani was not considered to be part of the PLAN up until now.  Offensive capability, in particular the inclusion of torpedoes and an ASW sonar dome forward (Not featured in Pattani, which might explain the increase in draught from 3 meters for the Pattani to just over 4 meters on the 056)  The 056 also includes improvements in heat signature reduction around the funnel and an emphasis on making it low and stealthy, which probably explains the omission of the helicopter hangar.  The finished type 056 is similar, but it's not really the same as the Pattani to the point of being a copy.  Here are images of the Pattani and, below that, the 056.
Note the lack of a break in the superstructure and some subtle differences in shape.  The absence of helicopter facilities will (IMO) still haunt the design, but I could see certain nations, like Pakistan and Iran purchasing the 056 as a low-cost alternative to a Frigate or Destroyer.  The only other question is just how well the finished product holds up to active service.  I'm glad that we were able to clear this up.
Quote    Reply