Khulna Shipyard signs a contract for five IPV and seven guided-missile corvettes with CSOC
|By Prasun K. Sengupta|
Bangladesh’s state-owned Khulna Shipyard recently signed a contract with China’s Shanghai-based Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard and the China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Ltd (CSOC) for licence-building five inshore patrol vessels (IPV) and seven guided-missile corvettes. While the IPVs are based on the 80-tonne Huang Pu-class vessel, the guided-missile corvettes, to be built to a brand-new design, will each have a displacement of 260 tonnes, length of 46 metres, beamwidth of 7.4 metres, and have a top speed of 30 Knots. While the CSOC will supply the first two guided-missile corvettes off-the-shelf, the remaining five will be licence-built by Khulna Shipyard. Each such vessel will be armed with up to four CPMIEC-built C-802A anti-ship cruise missiles. The IPVs will each have a length of 27.5 metres, beamwidth of 5.5 metres, and a maximum speed of 18 Knots. On-board armaments will comprise twin 14.5mm machine guns. For navigational purposes, one I-band Type 347G mast-mounted radar will be installed on each IPV. The combat information centre (CIC) for the FFGs and guided-missile corvettes will be supplied by CETC International.
It may be recalled that Dhaka had announced an ambitious force modernisation plan in February 2009 for its armed forces, which included the procurement of anti-armour guided-missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles, up to four medium-range maritime patrol aircraft, two guided-missile frigates (FFG), a regiment of NORINCO-built Type 96G main battle tanks, and two CATIC-supplied Z-9C shipborne helicopters. Subsequently, Bangladesh’s Parliamentary Standing Committee in June 2009 agreed in principle to approve a 10-year force modernisation programme (known as the ‘deterrent force’ and to be fully realised by 2021), under which the Bangladesh Navy would acquire two stealthy FFGs, seven guided-missile corvettes, three large OPVs equipped with helicopter decks, 12 maritime patrol craft, one diesel-electric submarine, two landing craft (utility), two hydrographic survey ships, one salvage vessel, five coastal IPVs, and new-generation anti-ship cruise missiles (Otomat Mk2 Block 4 from MBDA and C-802A from CPMIEC) and short-range air-defence systems (FN-90N) for installation on board the Navy’s existing FFGs — BNS Osman and BNS Bangabandhu. The Bangladesh Navy in future is expected to replace its three existing ex-Royal Navy frigates (BNS Abu Bakar, BNS Ali Haider and BNS Umar Farooq) with three new-generation FFGs to be provided by CSOC. Each such FFG will have a displacement of 1,500 tonnes, length of 97 metres, beamwidth of 10.90 metres, and a maximum speed of 30 Knots. The FFG will also be able to accommodate a medium-twin shipborne helicopter like the Z-9C, and will be armed with a 76mm main gun, up to 30 vertically-launched 35km-range air-defence missiles, twin triple-torpedo launch tubes, and four C-802A anti-ship cruise-missiles. It is believed that the Pakistan Navy too has evinced interest in acquiring three such stealthy FFGs, with contract negotiations with CSOC now reported to be in progress.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Navy’s Vice Admiral Tanveer Faiz Ahmed on March 1 laid the keel of the first of two Type 022 Hobei-class fast attack craft FACs on order at China’s Xinggang Shipyard in Tianjin. The Type 022 Hobei-class catamarans, which have been mass-produced since 2002 by up to four Chinese shipyards (Xinggang Shipyard in Tianjin, Quixin and Jiangnan shipyards in Shanghai, Huangpu Shipyard in Guangzhou, and at Dalian Shipyard), were jointly designed by Australia-based AMD Marine Consulting and Guangzhou-based Sea Bus International. The vessels, capable of attaining a top speed of 38 Knots, feature a wave-piercing catamaran hull design known as small waterplane area twin hull (SWATH), which becomes very stable even on choppy seas. The bulk of the displacement necessary to keep the catamaran afloat is located beneath the waves, where it is less affected by wave action, as wave excitation drops exponentially with depth. The Type 022 Hobei-class catamaran has a full-load displacement of 224 tonnes, length of 42.6 metres, beamwidth of 12.2 metres, draught of 1.5 metres, and a crew complement of 12. The propulsion system comprises twin diesel engines each rated at 6,865hp (5,119kW) and driving four KAMEWA waterjet propulsors. The armaments package comprises four CPMIEC-built YJ-83 (C-802A) anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM) housed in two large stern-mounted missile launchers, one bridge-mounted FLS-1 surface-to-air missile launcher along with 12 QW-2 missiles, and one KBP-designed AO-18 six-barrel 30mm gun.