Surface Forces: Burma Revives A 1950s Hit


June 15, 2014: Burma has built its first torpedo boat. The first of this class of T201s, which entered service on May 9th. It is a 21.5 meter (70 foot) long aluminum vessel that has a top speed of 63 kilometers an hour and carries eight Chinese or Russian torpedoes. No one really uses torpedo boats anymore but the Burmese apparently believed that these boats will be useful against Bangladesh (the main naval rival of Burma.)

The T201s are similar to the 26 Dark Class boats built in Britain during the late 1950s. Britain built five of the Dark Class boats for Burma and these also had aluminum hulls and were 71 foot long, 51 ton vessels with a crew of fifteen. These served into the 1970s and were useful as patrol boats. Britain also exported Dark Class boats to Finland and Japan.

In March the Burmese navy commissioned the first locally built frigate. Based on the Chinese Type 053 frigate, the new ship is a 1,400 ton vessel equipped with cannon, anti-ship missiles and torpedoes. Burma is also equipping some of its existing small patrol vessels with Chinese anti-ship missiles.


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