You Yue, deputy director for China Shipbuilding Trading Company’s business development in Western Asia and Africa, said, "We are in the development and design phase of the project…The plan form is fixed but many details remain," according to Defense News.
The trimaran hull gives the frigate the ability to have a much greater width than common monohull designs. The radar signature will be reduced by the shape of the superstructure and hull, as well.
The design was modeled this week at Abu Dhabi’s IBEX expedition, and showcased many possible features for the vessel. You noted, however, that it is not necessarily an accurate representation of a ship currently being built.
PLAN’s multihull ship could be in 105 feet wide and 466-feet long, according to information displayed alongside the model. A “marine electric propulsion system” is to be given to the power plant, with a 5,000 nautical-mile range at 16 knots, and 30-day endurance at 25 knots.
The China shipbuilding spokesman explained that these numbers could differ in a production ship, with speeds likely passing 30 knots, and that the company was considering an all-MTU diesel-propulsion plant, driving three waterjets.
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The military variant of the trimaran showcased a vertical launch system for surface-to-air missiles ahead of the superstructure as well as chaff launchers behind the gun. Models also offered included a 76 mm to 100 mm gun, surface-to-surface missiles in canister launchers amidships, close-in weapon systems, and other weaponry typically found in smaller warships.
The trimaran is said to be lighter than the Type 054A frigate currently used by PLAN.
Above decks featured a double hangar, along with side doors designed to launch small boats, though below the flight deck there are no stern doors and no mission bay.
PLAN will probably not begin construction on the first trimaran frigate before 2018, as the design has not yet been finalized.
The CSSC consortium, comprised of over a dozen Chinese industry shipbuilders, also showcased designs for export vessels, mostly based on existing designs from the Chinese Coast Guard or the Navy.
A variant of PLAN’s 25,000-ton Type 071 LPD landing ship dock was the largest, and CSSC’s West Asian and African project manager, Shen Yue, pointed out that customers could choose features that were different from the Chinese Navy’s LPDs, including a combat-management system, and a different power plant.