Surface Forces: Chinese Warships Recycled Rather Than Scrapped


September 23, 2015:   China is militarizing its coast guard. Not just by building larger (up to 3,000 tons) coast guard patrol ships but also by converting smaller navy warship to patrol duty. In 2008 there were rumors that China planned to use some of its older 053H (Jianghu class) missile frigates as coast guard patrol ships. Four of these three decade old warships have since shown up either in service or being refurbished and repainted in coast guard colors. The alternative for these older frigates was scrapping but some of these ships still had some life left in them. The converted frigates had their two 100 mm guns and six anti-ship missiles removed. This made room for smaller patrol boats to be mounted on deck, along with winches to lower them into the water. Additional fuel stowage was also added, and crew accommodations were improved, since only 70 percent as many sailors (about a 150) were now needed to run the ship.

The Chinese apparently also did a lot of repairs and rebuilding inside these ships, which have a long history of shoddy construction and frequent equipment breakdowns. The coast guard had said they would prefer new ships, but this is China, and you take what you can get and make the most of it. At least one of these conversions appears to be in service and three more 053H have been seen in shipyards being worked on. The four selected for conversion underwent a major refurbishment in the mid-1990s. As rebuilt for the coast guard they are 1,600 ton ships with one small cannon, a water cannon along with a dozen heavy (12.7mm) and medium (7.62mm) machine-guns. Top speed is about 46 kilometers an hour.





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