15:44 GMT15 May 2021
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    The People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) introduced two Type 056A Jiangdao-class submarine hunting corvettes into its fleet earlier this month, a move that bolsters China’s presence in the South China Sea.

    The ships, inducted November 16 and November 28, will operate under the PLAN's South Sea Fleet command, the Diplomat reports.

    The vessels are armed with specialized sonar equipment for detecting submarines, two 324 mm triple torpedo launchers a 76 mm gun, and YJ-83 anti-ship missiles. The ships will conduct patrols, fishery protection and escort missions in addition to anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare operations.

    The domestically made ships measure 89 meters in length, 11 meters wide and displace 1,500 tons of water, according to the Chinese Ministry of Defense.

    The vessels were constructed in the Huangpu Shipyard near the city of Guangzhou in southern China.

    The PLAN has commissioned seven Type 056A anti-submarine warfare ships into the fleet since the start of 2017.

    "The growth in the PLA(N) force structure has been rapid: indeed it is hard to recall growth at a similar pace in any navy across history," Peter Roberts, director of military science at the Royal United Services Institutes, wrote in February.

    An estimated $4 to $5 trillion worth of goods transits the waters of the disputed South China Sea on an annual basis. Brunei, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam have all staked claims to parts of the South China Sea, but so far the competing claims have not led to conflict. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has said that it seeks to address issues via communication even though Chinese military forces are still deployed on the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.


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    naval buildup, PLA, South China Sea
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