The US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) assessed that China is preparing to build up to 60 similar corvettes to serve in territorial waters. Reports suggest that the keel of the 31st corvette was laid in December 2015.
Huai'an, under operational number 509, will likely be deployed to the 22nd light frigate squadron at a base at Putuoshan, IHS Jane’s reported. The 1,500-ton corvette is fitted with four YJ-83 anti-ship missiles, a 76 mm gun, two triple-barrelled lightweight torpedo launchers, and an eight-cell HQ-10 short-range surface-to-air missile launcher.
At Putuoshan it will join three other Type 056 vessels. Two of the deployed vessels in squadron, numbers 593 and 594, are designed for anti-submarine warfare.
Since that time, military buildup by both sides has taken place in the region, triggering a rise in tensions.
In early August, Chinese media reported that the PLAN undertook large-scale maneuvers in the East China Sea, engaging 300 military vessels, dozens of aircraft and coastal guard ground-troop units.
China has used a gas drilling platform near the disputed waters to deploy a radar array designed to detect ships, causing criticism in Japan. Beijing, expressed concern over Tokyo’s intentions to deploy by 2023, on its Miyako-jima Island, anti-ship missiles capable of reaching the disputed areas. Following the moves, experts have suggested that the sides are entrenching for conflict escalation.